December 16, 2015

Inspiring the next generation

John Monash Science School hosted the 2015 International Science Students Fair from 7-11 December. The international students toured some of the Monash Technology Research Platforms and spent a morning learning about physics, immunology and the sciences our CoE does in between.

Each year the International Science School Fair brings together talented high school students and leading teachers to infect each other with their passion for the STEM subjects.

This year the quiet south east corner of Monash University — home to the John Monash Science School — was a buzz with science lovers from regional Victoria, Egypt, Kenya, Russia, England and Canada (to name but a few).

Monash Technology Research Platforms, CSIRO, the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication and the Australian Synchrotron opened their doors on Monday 7 December to 270 of the visitors. And Imaging CoE researchers took them through fun doable scientific workshops to illustrate the interdisciplinary work being done across the Centre’s five nodes.

Students, teachers and volunteers traipsed around campus checking out our facilities and learning a little about the research being done in them.

From the CAVE2TM to the rock garden, from Fishcore to Monash Micro Imaging, the facility managers agreed: “Year 10s really know how to ask the hard questions!”

While the MTRP focusses on linking our platforms with industry, having a cohort of teenagers roaming the facilities reminded us of where ingenuity and innovation really come from: curiosity.

This curiosity was perpetuated on Friday when members of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Advanced Molecular Imaging took 40 ISSF students through a workshop in either immunology, X-ray physics, optical Imaging or image processing.

Professor James Whisstock, Imaging CoE Director, opened the morning by outlining the big goals of the Centre and highlighting some of the more detailed aspects of the Centre’s research.

The students were then spilt up into four groups and worked under the guidance of an Imaging CoE mentor to complete a specific task representative of one of the Centre’s research activities.

At the end workshop the students and mentors held a facilitated discussion about the important features of each of the four projects. The students gained a lot from this experience and realised that while the Centre’s quest is to understand the mechanisms that drive the immune system, this research also drives knowledge in new and unexpected directions.

The workshops were so successful and inspiring, Imaging CoE CI Harry Quiney has been asked to come back and deliver the program as part of the John Monash Science School regular curriculum.