Women in Astronomy

Posted at 1:28 pm on 8th February, 2018

Flixton Girls School welcomed Astronomer Adam Whittaker from “Beauty in the Universe” earlier this term. Adam brought astronomy to life with talks and workshops including: inspirational women in astronomy, the birth and death of the universe, black holes, sightseeing in space and stargazing.

The activities focused our year 10 and 11 triple science students on their GCSE Physics studies, taking them into space and beyond.  Through the Big Bang, the early formation of the Solar System to what there is today, then looking at the life history of a star and how our Sun formed.  They also reviewed the expanding Universe and how Red-Shift and Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation explains the Universe’s expansion, together with how planets and satellites orbit in space. They also had the opportunity to great creative, recycling old plastic bottles and adapting with sticky tape and paper; creating their own rockets to learn Newton’s Third Law.

Some of the groups’ rocket building techniques were then put to the test by attempting to launch their creations in the school yard. Using the power of water as the force mechanism, each group took up the challenge to see just how high they would reach. Some were more successful than others but each raised rapturous applause.


Adam Whittaker commented: ‘Just as Ada Lovelace started off in her school and ended up sending humans to the moon, Flixton Girls triple science students continued their studies, building water rockets to learn Newton's Third Law. It took the human race around sixty years to go from the first ever flight to landing on another planetary body, so if there’s to be a brave new world for women to excel in space exploration, then these young ladies are going to pioneer it. It was a privilege to encourage their eager steps into the great unknown. Thanks for having me @FlixtonGS! It was a privilege to inspire the students.’  


Adam’s work can be seen by visiting www.beautyintheuniverse.co.uk

Our year 10 students commented:

‘The astronomy visit combined useful and fascinating information about space with activities to test our knowledge of Physics.’ Nina Cornell

‘I thoroughly enjoyed learning about each individual planet; the information was useful to further my understanding.’ Momina Qureshi

‘Adam made the sessions very enjoyable; launching the rockets we made, provided lots of laughter and interest.’ Zahra Holleran