Students honoured as scientists of the future

TWO Ripon Grammar School students have been honoured at an online ceremony to celebrate scientists of the future.

Amy Goodwin and Scarlett Rooke were among 57 young people from schools across Yorkshire recognised as outstanding students at the University of York and Ogden Trust sixth annual Physicist of the Year awards.

Both were nominated by their teachers, who selected pupils based on their hard work, contributions in class and progress over the past year.

Boarding student Amy,17, was praised for her dedication and commitment to her studies “That never falters, even when the concepts get more complex,” said her physics teacher Robert Griggs. “She gives of her time to mentor other students and is a role model to the rest of the boarding students.”

Scarlett, 15, was commended for working extremely hard to consistently creating work which is of A-level standard by her teacher Mike Barker: “The background she gave to two recent projects - calculating solar time and longitude using shadow sticks and observing stars to estimate magnitude – was A-level territory and showed a thorough amount of research had been carried out and understood.”

The award-winning students, who received certificates and book tokens, attended an online celebration ceremony where Professor Kieran Gibson, head of the university’s physics department, read out the award winners and reason for nomination.

The evening also included a keynote lecture from Professor Tim Spiller on the exciting new field of revolutionary quantum technologies.

Amy, who lives near Stokesley and plans to study medicine, says she enjoys the maths in physics: “Those parts just make more sense to me. When I was told about the award, I couldn't really believe it but was very happy to receive it.”

Scarlett, from outside York, who joined RGS in Year 9, says she has been inspired by Professor Stephen Hawking: “Initially I was really surprised I had been put forward for it considering the high level of work other people in my year achieve in physics. But I was really pleased all my hard work had been recognised by my teachers and paid off.”

She is aiming for a career in engineering: “I enjoy the mathematical side of physics and looking at atomic structure as it gives an introduction to how scientists are trying new ways to generate energy, specifically the process of nuclear fusion present in the Sun, but not yet on the Earth.”

In lockdown, she also enjoyed her recent shadow stick observation project for GCSE astronomy: “It allowed me to have time away from a computer screen, whilst taking results from the experiment.”

The awards, open to Year 10 and 12 students, are supported by The Ogden Trust, which aims to promote the teaching and learning of physics.