PHS students meet Valentina Tereshkova at the launch of the Cosmonauts exhibition at the Science Museum, Sept 2015.
A selection of work by our students.
Sian Weaver interview
I was fortunate to have the exciting opportunity to interview Sian Weaver, a mission systems engineer who as a young girl dreamed of being an astronaut and exploring the cosmos. During the interview, I asked her questions about her past education, her current work and the importance of working as a woman in science.
Sian’s first experience of space was when she visited the Houston Space Centre as a young girl, and fell in love with the concept of space travel. Even throughout secondary school she still aspired to be an astronaut, and set about studying science, Russian and getting involved with STEM themed extra curricular activities. She originally wanted to specialise her university studies in an astronaut studies degree, but was advised to take a more open course by her physics teacher. She said she is still incredibly grateful for this decision, as her career options are now more open.
She is currently working for Airbus Defence and Space as a mission systems engineer, where she designs and makes satellites. Interestingly, she mentioned to me that some of the labs she works in are even cleaner then operating theatres. This is because engineers and scientist are unknown to what could happen if bacteria went into space, and the satellites and technology that are sent up must stay in sterile conditions.
She later told me how important my interest in space and STEM was, and how both adventurous and significant this project was for young women, especially in secondary schools.
See more of our research into the women who travelled into space at this page.
Women’s Library @LSE visit
The trip to the women’s library was a really good experience and very educational, I learnt many things that were really interesting. I really enjoyed the interactive work and finding the facts for ourselves from the research documents. It was a great trip and overall a really brilliant project.
Letters from space
Click to read full-size
Space, earth, magical, float, fly, stars, moon
Stars, space, sun, spaceship, satellite
Positron, planet, Pluto
Astronaught, atom, antimatter
Science Lecture (5 May 2015)
As part of the ‘Dark side of the Moon’ project, Dr Susan Hawkins from Kingston University came in to talk to us about the history of women in science. It was fascinating to discover that female figures in science have been so overlooked and ignored, and truly unrecognized for the great things they have achieved that have changed the world of science globally.
For example Rosalind Elsie Franklin (1920 – 1958) was a British, female scientist who is recognised today as the scientist who provided valid evidence for the DNA structure but was robbed of this evidence when two fellow scientists (Francis Crick and James Watson) used her findings to complete their DNA structure model in 1953, and while they received a prize, no one took her seriously as a women. She only received recognition in 2008 by Columbia University with an Honorary Louisa Gross Horwitz prize.
Rosalind Franklin is just one of the many inspirational female figures in science we leant about during the lecture, there were many other stories that shocked us as young women living in 2015.
It was so interesting meeting someone so passionate as Susan Hawkins was, about something that we as young people should be informed about. It also gave us a much wider view on what this project is really about and why we are raising the issue of women in space being scarce.
After the lecture was over I had a conversation with Dr Hawkins and I asked, “Why do you think there is such a low number of women in space?” She replied, “Because I just don’t think they are guided into it in the same way as males in science are”. This made me confused at first, but then I realized she was right! Maybe we as young females aren’t guided onto the path of physics? So during this project I think it is so important that we can show that the struggles that women have overcome in the past to become astronauts should stay in the past
Dr Susan Hawkins’ lecture inspired every member of the project and gave us an insight of women in space! We are all very grateful for this amazing opportunity!
Kate Butler, Year 8
Job advert – women in space
How would you advertise the role of female astronaut to potential applicants? Some of our answers (click to see full size):