The northern lights, semiconductors and exploring space were among the subjects discussed by our pupils over tea and biscuits during our library’s café sci sessions this December.
The popular sessions are usually led by visiting academics, but this term our own sixth form pupils took the initiative and shared their own knowledge and passions with fellow pupils and staff by holding the talks themselves.
From the intricate detailing of logic gates to the variety of data latches used in computers, Ismaeel Ramzan hosted an engaging first talk of the half-term, as explained by Zizi Abraheem:
As well as delving into the world of transistors and their role in modern computing, those who attended the talk were given the opportunity to look through a light microscope and view the different components on a silicon wafer, a thin plate used in control circuits.
Midway through the talk, we were joined by a surprise second speaker who had just recently finished work at a semiconductor manufacturer: Michael Harte, Stockport Grammar’s IT network engineer, who further elaborated on how transistors are created on circuit boards and answered many of the stimulating questions from the students and teachers present.
Talks on outer space
The following week, Alastair Paterson held an intriguing session on the Lagrangian points – five special points in space where a small mass can orbit in a constant pattern with two larger masses – before Fiona Hollin took us on another journey to outer space for the last talk of the term:
The attendants of the café sci talk held on the 14th December 2012 attained the knowledge of the aurora borealis, also better known as the northern lights, a magical and enchanting natural light display in the sky, so rare that only a handful of people have had the privilege of viewing its magnificence first hand.
The talk, conducted by Stockport Grammar’s very own upper sixth pupil Fiona Hollin, delved into the intricate explanations of why these displays of phenomenon occur, where they happen and when – normally two days after a solar flare.
Fiona’s talk proved to be a massive success and stimulated many interesting questions from the audience, including questions on how they could get themselves involved in spotting an aurora borealis!
Thank you to all the speakers and attendees who have all contributed to making the cafe sci events a resounding success this term!