World-leading physicists from The University of Western Australia have come together online to support Western Australia’s brightest high school students.
Forty students from high schools around Western Australia participated in a 10-week UWA online extension program aimed at challenging and expanding the learning capacity of physics students in their final year of study.
Led by some of the best teaching and research staff from UWA’s Department of Physics, the program provides an opportunity for final-year students to learn from experts at the forefront of physics research and ask questions at the frontier of modern science.
Year 12 students statewide were encouraged to apply for the program, with an emphasis on merit-based interest and ensuring all socio-economic groups could participate.
Students were exposed to research at the frontier of modern science during the online sessions with topics covering quantum computing, dark matter, gravitational waves, space science, biological and medical physics, quantum engineered systems, as well as Big Bang nucleosynthesis.
At the conclusion of the program, the most active three students will be awarded prizes, donated by Lance Maschmedt, an Honorary Fellow in the Department of Physics.
Professor Jingbo Wang from UWA’s Department of Physics said the idea for the program arose during the COVID-19 crisis when researchers became aware that high school students in their final year were under enormous pressure.
“It’s been exciting to see the students so engaged with learning and asking the deep questions,” Professor Wang said.
“It’s not hard to imagine a bright future with these young leaders of a society that is forever changed.”
Professor David Coward said it was particularly encouraging to see the participation of students from regional Western Australia, spanning Mt Newman in the northwest, through to Bunbury, Esperance and Albany in the southwest.
“These students don’t just want to understand the world around them, they want to make a difference,” Professor Coward said.