School of Physics and SCI-FUN at the University of Edinburgh
Project provider name: University of Edinburgh
Where bursary placements take place: School of Physics and SCI-FUN, King’s Buildings, University of Edinburgh.
How many years has the University of Edinburgh offered placements to Nuffield bursary students
3 years (2005 - 2007).
How is the scheme run within PP4SS and SCI-FUN?
Alan Walker, a Senior Lecturer with the Particle Physics Experiments Group and Peter Reid, the Development Officer for the Scottish Science Technology Road Show (SCI-FUN) are both involved in the outreach programme PP4SS (Particle Physics for Scottish Schools). Nuffield bursars work on PP4SS-related projects, using and/or developing experimental equipment for that programme, or developing ideas related to that programme.
The outcomes of the three projects so far have been used in:
(i) public outreach activities for both the general public and for schools
(ii) advanced workshops within schools
(iii) in undergraduate lecture demonstrations
(iv) in undergraduate experimental projects, and
(v) for UCAS visit days as well as for University Open Days.
It has also been possible for the bursars to be involved in some of these follow-on activities. There is also excellent technical help from Brian Cameron, Acting Director of SCI-FUN and Mark Reynolds, Senior Technician with the SCI-FUN team.
What do you feel the main benefits of the scheme are?
The bursars not only have contact with a physicist who is working in this specialised area, but also with a team who are leading public outreach efforts in particle physics. The students develop rapidly during the six weeks, learning the relevant physics in depth and gaining confidence from that understanding. They also gain confidence from being expected to deliver a high-quality report and to produce a high-quality poster.
The projects so far undertaken have required the bursars to produce tangible and lasting output. This adds to the satisfaction in pursuing their project and pride in the achievements gained. The also gain from follow-on activities where they have the opportunity to engage with the general public and others through our outreach programme.
Would you recommend the scheme to others? Please state reasons.
Yes. I would recommend it to all, but it is necessary that the students be enthusiastic and willing to be challenged. The reward is then that much greater. I would also recommend it to my colleagues, but with exactly the same caveat.