Tonbridge hosts over 120 students for Annual Science Conference

Over 120 UK students were joined remotely by those from the USA and Mexico for the Tonbridge Annual Science Conference. Now in its seventh year, the programme included a total of 85 student presentations and talks from two leading scientists.

Tonbridge hosts over 120 students for Annual Science Conference
Photo: Tonbridge School

More than 120 students from schools across the UK were joined remotely by those from the USA and Mexico for the Tonbridge Annual Science Conference on Friday 4th March.

Now in its seventh year, the event once more brought together students to present their own research and share their passion for scientific discovery and exploration.

A full programme included a total of 85 student presentation sessions as well as talks from two leading scientists, who were the day’s keynote speakers.

Dozens of research posters were on display throughout the day in the School’s Barton Science Centre.

Schools taking part, in addition to Tonbridge, included The Judd School, Benenden, Tonbridge Grammar School, Queen Elizabeth Grammar, King’s Canterbury, Eton, Westminster and Winchester, with attendees from Los Altos High School, California, USA, and Colegio Carol Baur School, Mexico, joining remotely.

The presentations, based on a ‘share and discuss’ format, covered areas as diverse as artificial intelligence, potential treatments for cancer and Parkinson’s Disease, cell development, animal behaviour, fear-conditioned memory and photographing the solar system.

Arachnophobes might have been pleased to learn, in one session, of the deterrent effects of ant semiochemicals on spiders.

Keynote speakers were Dr Farah Alibay, Senior Systems Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, and Dr Joe Cook, Senior Researcher at Aarhus University in Denmark.

Dr Alibay has worked on the Mars Cube One CubeSats mission and on the InSight Lander programme: her responsibilities include ensuring the robotic lander spacecraft does not get lost on Mars.

She was part of the NASA team that successfully made Ingenuity the first powered controlled aircraft to fly on another planet.

Glacial microbiologist Dr Cook is an explorer of the microscopic 'frozen rainforest' on the surface of the Greenland ice sheet.

His ‘Ice Alive’ mission aims to bring to light how this relatively unknown ecosystem helps shape the ice of the northern hemisphere and how it may drive changes in the Earth’s climate, nutrient and carbon cycles, which in turn affect humanity.

In his closing address, Tonbridge’s Headmaster, James Priory, thanked students for contributing to 'a stimulating conference', before drawing their attention to an important anniversary in the world of science.

Born 200 years ago this December, French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur was responsible for providing the foundation of modern medicine’s ability to fight disease, especially in his pioneering work to develop vaccinations.

"2022 marks the bi-centenary of a scientist whose impact has, indeed, been global: Louis Pasteur," Mr Priory said.

"To use his words, science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world.

"There has certainly been a brilliant spirit of collaboration and sharing today, and we look forward to seeing you again at the 2023 conference."

Photo: Tonbridge School
Photo: Tonbridge School
Photo: Tonbridge School

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