Astronaut Tim Peake talks to pupils
15 October 2019
Astronaut Tim Peake spoke to hundreds of secondary school students from south Wales at the largest space industry conference in Europe.
The learners, from seven different schools, were invited as part of Welsh Government’s Trio Sci Cymru programme to boost take up of STEM subjects in Wales.
The pupils are all part of the UniverseLab project, run by the School of Physics and Astronomy at Cardiff University, which is the physics section of Trio Sci Cymru at Cardiff.
Cardiff University astronomer Dr Paul Roche, who leads the UniverseLab initiative, said: “It seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.
“We had some of the world’s leading space scientists, senior people from NASA and Tim Peake all coming to Wales for a few days, so we thought it would be great to get pupils from the schools that are part of this unique three-year science programme to come along and find out about what space can offer them in the future.”
The Trio Sci Cymru programme is funded by the European Social Fund and will engage 5,000 pupils across Wales over three years.
The project is led by Welsh Government’s National Science Academy in collaboration with the Institute of Physics and Cardiff, Swansea, Bangor and Aberystwyth universities.Some 450 year eight students from seven schools visited the UK Space Conference in Newport where Major Peake spoke about his six-month stay on the International Space Station (ISS).
The pupils, who also attended a series of space workshops, have been studying the exploration of Mars and learning about astronauts and the ISS.
Jemma Evans, Head of Science at Treorchy Comprehensive School in Rhondda, tweeted: “A huge thank you to @TrioSciCymru_CU and @spacegovuk for an amazing experience today! Holding rocks from Mars, being astronauts in an auditorium, observing telescope images, & meeting @astro_timpeake was so inspiring! Wonderful to see @TCSscience1 pupils meet their science hero!”
The pupils rubbed shoulders with leading figures from the global space industry, including NASA Chief Scientist Dr Jim Green.
Dr Green also visited Cardiff West Community High School in Ely where he spoke to year 8 pupils about NASA's plans to return to the Moon and the future plans to explore Mars.
These pupils are participating in a pioneering science programme led by Angela Darke, with lessons themed around Mars exploration.
Dr Roche added: “We hope that some of these children will be inspired to go on to take science subjects at A-level, and then at university, and eventually have careers in the space industry.
“There aren’t many job opportunities for astronauts, but the UK space industry is booming, and there will be lots of careers in this and related areas in the future.
“We need to ensure that Wales is educating the next generation of scientists and engineers, and the Trio Sci Cymru programme will help enthuse many more school students to carry on with science subjects right through to university level.”
Trio Sci Cymru at Cardiff will provide around 3,200 pupils from 18 secondary schools with additional science education.