February 08 2013 | Views: 1948
Kent and Medway
STEM Ambassador Peter Hatfield arranged a talk by the only British European Space Agency Astronaut for Year 9 students at the University of Cambridge.
Peter Hatfield went to school at Simon Langton Boys in Canterbury, Kent, and is currently doing a Masters in Astrophysics in the University of Cambridge. Past STEM Ambassador activities he has been involved with include BBC Star Gazing Live at Simon Langton Boys School, Mission X: Train like an Astronaut and The Big Bang Fair 2010, 2011 & 2012.
From STEM Ambassador Peter Hatfield:
"I organised for Tim Peake, the only British European Space Agency Astronaut to visit Cambridge. He has not been into space yet, but has finished training, and is expected to go to the International Space Station for a 6 month period of training within the next 3 years or so. I arranged for him to give a talk to the Yr9s in a local school (Chesterton Community College) in the morning. They absolutely loved it. He gave a presentation which included videos of his training (including spending 12 days underwater as an "aquanaut" in a practice run of a mission to land on an asteroid) and then we had an animated, excited questions and answers session. After that a group of around 10-15 really keen kids stayed for a further 40 minutes just talking to him and asking more questions! He was brilliant, signed loads of items, really inspiring and spent a lot of time talking to individual students which really made a difference. In the afternoon I organised for him to give a talk to the University; I specifically arranged it for the date "Shadow Students" were in Cambridge so they could see him. Shadow students are Yr12's with strong academic potential, but who do not from a background of higher education or going to University. They spend 3 days "shadowing" current students, see what University is like, and hopefully see how important further study can be and ideally it helps reduce any misconceptions they may have about Oxbridge.
"It was a great experience organising the day; it was a lot of work but the UK Space Agency was great in helping me. It was very fun to hang out with an Astronaut, and just brilliant to see what a difference it made to the students. For the Yr 9's it really made them realise how important science and technology was in the world, and made them think about all the different aspects of physics that go into something like the International Space Station. For the Shadow Students it was a really vivid display of how close they were to being involved in fantastic projects like space exploration (that it really was something they could have a role in) and how key University and studying STEM subjects were."
Covered by ITV News Anglia: