More than 250 Perth school students will gather at The University of Western Australia this month to hear Nobel Laureates Professor Barry Marshall and Emeritus Professor Robin Warren speak as part of National Science Week.
Professor Marshall will talk about ‘How kitchen chemistry helped win the Nobel Prize’ and Emeritus Professor Warren will hold a question and answer session on the world of science as part of “ExSCItement”, to be held on Tuesday, August 21, 2007, at the University Club.
Sharing the stage with the Nobel Laureates are budding young scientists who have participated in a new pilot education program run by the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology at UWA, which aims to engage students from primary and secondary schools in the wonders of plants.
Yvonne Van Der Ploeg, Education, Training and Outreach Officer at Plant Energy Biology, said the Powerful Plants program also encouraged participants to get creative and perform their own mythbusting or novel research on plants to look at ways in which they develop and grow.
“We want to bring the scientist out of students by encouraging them to look at their world and more specifically the plants around them with a sense of wonder and arouse their natural curiosity to find out more by performing their own plant research,” she said.
The Plant Energy Biology program is a free-of-charge incursion offered to schools and program workshops are currently being delivered to several classes and year levels at Shenton College, Governor Stirling SHS and Karratha District High School.
Primary students involved in the West Coast District Primary Extension And Talent Centre (PEAC) program for gifted and talented students have also been involved in an eight-week Powerful Plants course.
“By getting out there and visiting schools we aim to take the mystery out of scientific research. Many people who hear of our centre want to know more about what we do and how it can be applied to everyday life,” Ms Van Der Ploeg said.
“Programs such as Powerful Plants allow us to do this in a novel, fun and educational manner by encouraging students to look at the plants around them in a different way and perhaps aspire to a career in plant science.”
Ms Van Der Ploeg said the program aimed to not only inspire students but also help update teacher knowledge in the fast-moving area of biotechnology techniques and their application in plant scientific research.
“ExSCItement” is a National Science Week event presented by UWA Student Services UniDiscovery and Plant Energy Biology and sponsored by Agilent Australia.
Yvonne Van Der Ploeg (ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology) 61 8 6488 4481
Filomina D’Cruz (UniDiscovery) 61 8 6488 7863