A group of 13 A Level physicists visited Jodrell Bank, Cheshire, earlier this week, for a day of valuable revision to reinforce the new Astrophysics section of the A Level syllabus.

Pupils were able to see how the material taught in class is actually used by Manchester University undergraduates in their own research; some of those including previous A Level students from Sedbergh. 

Head of Physics Mark Appleton said: “Students not only discovered how the once largest steerable radio telescope in the world works (Still now the 3rd largest in the world) but used actual data collected from the Lovell telescope to calculate redshifts, rotation velocities and masses of distant galaxies beyond our own Milky Way.

Physics and Astrophysics is a popular course which includes the most up to date topics in science including discovery of exoplanets, which featured prominently in the news this week, and so it is brilliant for us to have a facility like this within easy reach.”

James Thomas, Year 13, said: “It was really inspiring learning more about astronomy and the incredible ways in which we use technology.”

Maria Mendoza, Head of School, said: “It was a great day out! I found very interesting being able to see first hand what we have been studying on lenses over the past two terms, and being able to explore the uses of them in real life rather than on just practice questions in a textbook.

It really did show me how Physics is something seriously key in our lives and how the research done through the subject can get us all so far. It was great to go with Mr Appleton and Mr Swainson, as they are both so passionate about their subject and to be surrounded by students that are just as interested in Physics.”

A spokesperson for Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre said: “It  is our mission to inspire the scientists and engineers of the future. Visits from A-level students, like those from Sedbergh School, are massively important, not just to the Centre, but to the future of the UK’s science, engineering and technology industries.

It’s more important than ever that young people choose to go into STEM careers, as there is a shortfall in these areas. We hope your students enjoyed their trip to the Centre and that they were inspired with what science, engineering and technology can achieve!”

Follow Sedbergh: