Meriden girls among the best and brightest young scientists

20 February 2017

Two Year 12 Meriden students, Claire Zhao and Jannessa Yao, were invited to join the best and brightest science students from across the country at two important science events held in Canberra in January.

Claire Zhao was chosen to participate in the prestigious Science Olympiads Summer School in the discipline of Physics after she placed in the top 10 percent in the Australian Physics Olympiads competition.  Claire joined 23 other Year 12 students to study a course which covers the equivalent of first year university studies in physics. The course comprised lectures, tutorials and laboratory work and covered topics such as electromagnetism, circuits, relativity, thermodynamics, fluids, waves and oscillations.  The participants also received their first taste of quantum physics.

Claire said that the course was challenging and at times extremely difficult but it was a lot of fun. “For students who are interested in biology, chemistry, earth sciences or physics, Australian Science Olympiads is the door to a great opportunity that will allow you to hone your skills, approach science from a new angle and meet like-minded thinkers,” she said.

Meriden’s Jannessa Yao is one of only 200 students chosen from across Australia to attend the National Youth Science Forum at the Australian National University, Canberra. The aim of the annual forum is to nurture and encourage young Australians to be the next generation of leading scientists and engineers supporting a sustainable future for Australia.  The forum sessions offer participants a mix of laboratory visits at universities and industrial research facilities, as well as the opportunity to meet with and talk to leaders from the scientific world.  

Jannessa heard from lecturers such as Nobel Laureate Professor Brian Schmidt who spoke about the accelerating universe and astrophysics, CERN Head of Education Dr Rolf Landua who participated via videoconference from Switzerland, and ACT Scientist of the Year Dr Ceridwen Fraser who discussed her research into species dispersal in Antarctica.

Jannessa’s most memorable lecture was held at the Australian Academy of Science where Professor Linda Richards of the Queensland Brain Institute spoke about how the brain is wired during development as a combination of genetic and environmental factors. “As a student interested in studying psychology, neuroscience or genetic medical science, this presentation was highly engaging and showed me the opportunities for a career in the field,” Jannessa said.