Science Week 2013

4–9 March 2013

The success of the Sevenoaks Science Week has been dramatic, with in excess of 10,000 visitors attending in recent years. Titan the robot in 2010, our live link with the International Space Station in 2011 and last year’s aeronautical engineering day set the bar quite high for activities for 2013, but, with significant sponsorship from the Big Bang fair and Engineering UK, we were able to offer a range of inspiring events and speakers, and also to invite in the BloodHound SSC team.

Our event is one of the biggest Science fairs in the UK (hosted in a school) and has always been, and always will be completely free of charge to everyone that attends.

During Science Week 2013, events included, for primary schools, Dr Mike Leahy, the Young Engineers Stem Challenge, Science Junkies, the London Science Museum shows; for secondary school students, Barts and the London Trauma Science, the Da Vinci Challenge, and the Sevenoaks Lecture by Paul Rose; for staff and parents, a jewellery-making session and Physics lessons; and for all ages, the Bloodhound Supersonic Rocket Car and Bloodhound SSC Lecture.

Barts and the London Trauma Sciences: Surgery Activity

During Science Week 2013, our IB Higher Level Biology class was lucky enough to take part in a ‘trauma surgery’ workshop run by Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry. An operating theatre was set up on the bottom floor of The Space, where we were let loose to operate on ‘Fred’ the willing dummy.

Before doing this, we all scrubbed up and wore safety goggles and gloves, preparing us for the task at hand. We all got the chance to assist one of the surgeons in groups of four and used clamps to stop bleeding from different internal blood vessels in a number of different activities. We learnt about the speed at which surgery must be done and about the surgical tools used. We were also taught about the London Ambulance service and the way it is run. This was an invaluable experience for all of us especially those considering medicine, as it really gave us an insight into what real surgery is like.
Tilly Jacob

TEDx Sevenoaks School

For Science Week 2013, Sevenoaks School held a TEDxSevenoaksSchool evening on Thursday 14 March, on the theme of ‘Where invention meets discovery’. TEDx events are independently organised but linked to the TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) global conferences created by the Sapling Foundation to disseminate ‘ideas worth spreading’.

When watching a TED show, you are instantly inspired by the intellectualism and ideas involved. The aim of our project was to collate a group of Lower Sixth students who would merge initiative, ideas, creativity and teamwork to produce an event that would not only be interesting but also inspiring. Most of the Lower Sixth welcomed the idea, and 40 students signed up to participate. We were all thrilled to be part of such a grand event within the school. The 40 of us were divided into four groups: publicity, logistics, tech and demos, and we were all eager to crack on with the project.

The event consisted of a screening of several TEDTalks videos alongside five live presenters and three demonstrations sparking deep conversation and connections. The demonstrations were key in making the event exhilarating as the experiments that they presented, ‘elephant toothpaste’, ‘van der graph generator’ and a live microscope, all involved audience participation. The logistics team was not only pivotal in contacting and choosing the speakers but also in making a professional atmosphere for the event and making it run smoothly. The technology team created an ambient mood by the use of deep lighting.

The publicity team (which I was part of) was key in getting the project going, and we were eager and determined to do what had to be done: advertise TEDxSevenoaksSchool and sell all the tickets available. We invited parents and pupils by email, created a website and Twitter page, and put posters up around the school. The whole event was streamed live and a video was posted on YouTube so that people who were unable to get a ticket could watch at home. The professional speakers were informative, interesting and most of all inspiring. They ranged from a mechanical engineer at OC Robot to a professor of balloon-borne astrophysics, speaking on a variety of topics, which was important in grabbing the attention of a vast number of people.

My personal impression was that the event was a unique experience in which I grasped many innovative ideas but most of all, I understood the value of inspiration. Before the event, we were motivated to create an event where invention meets discovery. Afterwards, we were extremely proud to have been part of a global phenomenon, TED, which inspired every single one of us. Credit goes to Dr Harper-Clark and Miss Bonsall for supporting all of our thoughts and ideas throughout.
Keyu Sumaria


Near Space Weather Balloon

As part of Science Week 2013 the Science department launched a near space weather balloon, recording its rapid ascent of approximately 5m per second. The balloon flew to an estimated height of 25 miles and landed in Belgium several hours later. The footage was taken from two GoPro HD cameras mounted on a custom- manufactured rig with one camera pointing downwards and the other sideways. This video shows a low-res shortened version of the flight: