Science show an education for pupils

Morecambe High School pupils Jason Dixon and Millie Wattam and Our Lady's Catholic College pupils Caitlin Kelly and Joseph Murphy at the Science Show at The Grand  with Ian Haines, technical and safety manager at Heysham 2 power station, and performers Nic Harrigan and Simon Watt.
Morecambe High School pupils Jason Dixon and Millie Wattam and Our Lady's Catholic College pupils Caitlin Kelly and Joseph Murphy at the Science Show at The Grand with Ian Haines, technical and safety manager at Heysham 2 power station, and performers Nic Harrigan and Simon Watt.

Vortex rings and ugly animals kept an audience of more than 800 pupils on the edge of their seats as science took centre stage at The Grand Theatre, Lancaster.

Two performers Nic Harrigan and Simon Watt took pupils from eight of the area’s secondary schools through some fascinating physics and boggling biology as part of an event supported by Heysham Power Stations.

Ian Haines, technical and safety manager at Heysham 2 power station, opened the morning event and Ian Stewart, station director at Heysham 1, opened the afternoon performance.

Donna Diamond, the station’s Visitor Centre supervisor, was the organiser. She said: “This is third time we have run these events and they are getting better and better.

“The pupils really engaged with the performers who covered some interesting physics and biology theories.

“In teaming up with Cheltenham Science Festival we are showing that science is fun, and hopefully encouraging some of the Grand’s audience to pursue a career in science, maths and technology.

“Locally we employ around 1500 people at Heysham 1 and Heysham 2 power stations, and they are involved in engineering, but also physics and chemistry. So there are opportunities with EDF Energy for people with a range of skills.”

Simon Watt introduced the audience to some of the planet’s ugliest and unloved animals. He told them that many of the creatures seen as ‘ugly’ were nearly extinct but were crucial to the planet’s delicate eco-systems.

Pupils were called onto stage to become many of the endangered animals and show their unique traits such as firing blood at enemies.

Nic Harrigan took the pupils through some home-based physics, from making milk rings and creating flame tornados and also a series of microwave-based experiments.

Eight schools attended the event: Heysham High, Morecambe High, Carnforth High, Our Lady’s Catholic College, Lancaster Royal Grammar School, Lancaster Girls Grammar School, Ripley St Thomas, and Central Lancaster High.

The show was part of an outreach programme run by Cheltenham Science Festival, which is sponsored by EDF Energy, operator of Heysham power stations.