Physics ace Grace off to Oz

Grace Carpenter with her physics teacher Mhairi Mitchison
Grace Carpenter with her physics teacher Mhairi Mitchison
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A science student is heading Down Under to swot up on physics.

Teenager Grace Carpenter, a student at Blackpool Sixth Form College, is one of just five British youngsters chosen to travel to Australia this summer to take part in an elite science programme.

I am really interested in particle and quantum physics. It’s great to go into detail and research beyond what is on the syllabus

The 17-year-old, from Poulton, will represent the UK at the International Science School (ISS) at the University of Sydney.

The former Baines High School pupil was encouraged to apply by her physics teacher, Mhairi Mitchison, who leads the Ogden Trust, a national organisation promoting physics education, including through the ISS.

She will be one of 140 top young scientists from 10 different countries, including the US, China and India, having seen off competition from hundreds of applicants.

Miss Carpenter won her place after producing an impressive application essay, on the niche topic of ‘future developments in medical radio isotope production’, written after visiting a top university to see its newly-opened particle accelerator and then CERN in Switzerland, home of the Large Hadron Collider.

She said: “I am really interested in particle and quantum physics. It’s great to go into detail and research beyond what is on the syllabus.

“I’m excited by the way in which cutting-edge physics, such as that carried out at CERN, can have an important impact on our everyday lives.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting people from all over the world, including professors and researchers.”

The two weeks in Sydney, from June 28, will include lectures from leading scientists, laboratory visits and experiments as well as time out in one of the world’s most iconic cities. Upon her return, Grace intends to go on to study physics at university, aiming to win a place at an Ivy League university in the USA.

Mrs Mitchison said: “Grace is an extremely gifted physics student and thoroughly deserves this fantastic opportunity.”