Science Happenings

By Karl Brinsdon | Posted: Tuesday April 10, 2018

Powering Potential and Hands on at Otago

Powering Potential:

Over the first school holidays I was lucky enough to be selected to attend Powering Potential, a three-day science event in Wellington run by the Royal Society of New Zealand and supported by Freemasons New Zealand. I was joined by 38 other participants from all over New Zealand. The event challenges those attending to solve some of the world's problems. 

The team I was a part of worked with Dr Lora Wu from the Sleep/Wake Research Centre at Massey University. Our aim was determining whether daylight savings was worth having based on the effects it has on people and their environments. We looked at the pros and cons of having daylight saving and discovered many interesting facts. 

During the evenings we were treated to fun activities such as escape rooms and a play at the Circa Theatre. On the final evening, we had a presentation evening and disco. 

It was great opportunity to meet scientists and other young people who share the same interests. Thanks to the Royal Society of New Zealand and Freemasons New Zealand for funding the whole event, travel and accommodation, and also to Logan Park for supporting my application to attend.

Hands On at Otago 2018:

In January, I attended Hands On At Otago, a five-day event at the University of Otago spanning across many subjects. Participants were grouped into one of 36 projects. I was a part of the physics project where we focused on the physics of light and how different wavelengths are absorbed and reflected by different materials, which was measured using specialised equipment and involved calculations to determine the final values. 

It was very interesting to explore the practical side of physics and some of the facilities available. We visited some of the laboratories at the University where we were able to take a photo of an atom which was held still using an array of fine-tuned lasers. We also experienced freezing conditions of -2 degrees Celsius and -20 degrees Celsius. 

Hands On 2018 was attended by 392 Year 12 and 13 students from across New Zealand. It was great to meet lots of like-minded people who share the same interests and experience staying at a university hall of residence. I thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity which I won at the Aurora Otago Science and Technology Fair last year.

Thanks very much to Canon New Zealand and University of Otago for providing this prize.

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