Lucky students visit space lab

Collyer's students Elysia Hannaford, Jack Dawson, Sheona Day and Sam Devalmency; Dr Jackie Johnston, Dr Dhiren Kataria (MSSL) and Joe Brock.
Collyer's students Elysia Hannaford, Jack Dawson, Sheona Day and Sam Devalmency; Dr Jackie Johnston, Dr Dhiren Kataria (MSSL) and Joe Brock.

Last week five lucky Collyer’s Physics students, who hope to go on to study Physics at degree level, presented work at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL), part of UCL’s Department of Space and Climate Physics.

The students’ research was the culmination of a combined month spent at MSSL, a world leading research organisation and the UK’s largest university-based space research group.

Prior to the summer, the students had enjoyed a series of lectures given by Joe Brock, Collyer’s Head of Faculty for Mathematics and Science, and UCL’s Dr Dhiren Khataria.

Joe Brock explained: “The aim of the lectures was to bring them up to speed in the relevant parts of physics. The students then spent four consecutive weeks at the laboratory, working on calibrating a detector, which looks at both charged and neutral particles in the upper atmosphere. The detector will now be mounted on a tiny satellite called a Cubesat and the instrument will be launched into space in April 2015.”

The students’ presentations at Mullard Space Science Laboratory were to a 25 strong audience, including many of the leading professors and doctors from the world of space exploration.

Collyer’s Principal, Dr Jackie Johnston said: “The audience commented on how impressed they were with the students’ organisation, presentation and technical skills. We are so proud of them!”

Joe Brock was equally thrilled: “It is just amazing how these brilliant students have managed to provide real data that will be used to assist in the development of this instrument and ultimately help in making the programme a success.

“These students are literally sending their work where no Collyer’s student has sent their work before!”

Report and picture contibuted by Collyer’s.