Emma Wignell was one of 25 NYSF 2015 Alumni selected to attend the London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF) in July and August 2015.
The LIYSF has been operating for more than 50 years and attracts over 450 students from almost 65 countries for a two-week session.
For Emma, attending LIYSF and the follow-up trip to CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research Discovery Program, was an opportunity to experience world-class science facilities, and to visit some incredible laboratories across Europe, meeting remarkable individuals from across the globe and exploring her passion for science.
I enjoyed meeting scientists from a wide range of fields and I also had the opportunity to discuss their work with them
Emma says that before going to London, she had intended to study science at university followed by a career in research. However, the LIYSF opened her up to a new range of possibilities. Now she wants to study an undergraduate science degree with a postgraduate degree in law, in the hope of becoming a lawyer – with a focus on the interplay of science and ethics in an ever-changing and modernising society.
The LIYSF program allows participants to pick their own lab and site visits. Emma chose to visit the Queen Mary School of Physics and Astronomy in London, Airbus UK in Bristol, and the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy Research. “I enjoyed meeting scientists from a wide range of fields and I also had the opportunity to discuss their work with them.”
She also attended a lecture by behavioral scientist Dr Simon Kyle from University of Oxford who presented his research discussing the interaction between sleep disorders and mental illness. Dr Kyle answered questions ranging from why we sleep walk to the ‘falling’ sensation we sometimes feel on the verge of falling asleep.
Another standout lecture was from Dr Michael Londesborough from the Czech Academy of Sciences. His lecture was an interactive presentation on boron hydrides and their application in the wider world.
The opportunity to network with students from all over the world was particularly valuable. “I made new friends with people from England, Ireland, Malaysia, Spain, Malta, the Netherlands, Germany, and of course fellow Australians.”
The CERN Discovery Program facilitated by the LIYSF saw participants travelling to Geneva via Paris, taking in the sights. The highpoint in Paris for Emma was a visit to the Cite des Sciences with her favorite exhibit focused on young scientists and inventors and the planetarium section on aviation development.
At CERN the students had a guided tour of the cryogenic test facility, the Compact Muon Solenoid experiment, the ATLAS detector, and the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer experiment, which looks at dark matter, antimatter and missing matter from a module on the International Space Station. They met with scientists from diverse fields and were given the opportunity to ask questions, take photos and learn about what goes on inside the Large Hadron Collider.
“The 2015 London International Youth Science Forum and the CERN Discovery Program have been the highlight of 2015 to date. Being selected to represent my country at this prestigious forum was not only inspiring but also enjoyable and that’s what makes the LIYSF so special to me.”
“I hope that by sharing my LIYSF experience will inspire others who are interested in pursuing a career in science, and I hope that one day I too can play my part in bettering the world.”