The University of Southampton

Bright young stars shine at Southampton Schools Physicist of the Year awards

Published: 6 August 2019
Pupils collect their awards at the School of Physics and Astronomy.

Dozens of young scientists with bright futures were celebrated at the seventh annual Southampton Schools Physicist of the Year (SPOTY) awards.

The talented pupils were honoured by the national Ogden Trust scheme in a ceremony at the University of Southampton’s School of Physics and Astronomy, marking outstanding efforts and achievements studying physics in the city.

This summer’s event included the presentation of Discovery-level CREST (CREativity in Science and Technology) awards for children who worked on a public engagement project which connected them with Southampton’s leading dark energy and supernova research.

Forty Year 10 pupils received SPOTY awards and eight home educated students were presented CREST awards at the ceremony on Highfield Campus, supported by many teachers and family members. All prize-winners were given a certificate and gift voucher.

Dr Sadie Jones, event organiser and Outreach Leader in the School of Physics and Astronomy, said: “These awards are so important as they provide an opportunity for the young people, their teachers and family to celebrate all the hard work they have applied to their physics studies this year. It is really important that young people take a moment to reflect on their work and allow themselves to feel proud of their achievements.”

The Ogden Trust aims to increase the uptake of physics with post-16 pupils, particularly those from under-represented groups, and fully funded last month’s ceremony which included a buffet dinner.

SPOTY events also offer a taste of the university physics experience, with last month’s celebration including an explosive edition of the Accelerate! show. Southampton PhD student’s led by Alex Mitchell presented the interactive performance that explored some of the principles of particle physics.

The ceremony’s CREST award winners had taken part in the Public Engagement with Research unit (PERu) funded Dark Energy Pilot Project. The programme involved producing weekly media clips inspired by Southampton research which will now be used in future Soton Astrodome planetarium shows.

The University of Southampton is committed to delivering a wide-ranging outreach program with Key Stage activities for both students and teachers. Find out more at the School of Physics and Astronomy’s outreach and public engagement pages.

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