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Nuffield placement students in final of UK Young Scientists of the Year Competition

13 January 2017

Big Bang finalists

Asia Hoile, Kate Hale and Evie McAndrew have been shortlisted as finalists in the Big Bang UK Young Scientists of the Year competition for a project they undertook with the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Sustainable Places Research Institute as part of a six-week Nuffield research placement.

The placement project entitled ‘Investigating the evolution of landslides following a seismic event in China’, involved mapping basin activity in China’s Sichuan Province across a 10 year time period spanning the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake. During the project, the students, who attend Coleg Gwent in Crosskeys, Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera in Swansea and Cwmbran High School, were supported by Drs T.C. Hales and Robert Parker from the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

To track the temporal and spatial evolution of landsliding rates, the students mapped landslides by drawing polygons around the failures using Google Earth. They then applied GIS to process the data, analysing and interpreting their findings in a final project report. During the project, they visited Blaencwm, Aberfan and Porthkerry to visualize and understand the size and extent of the landslides in Sichuan, and the threats they pose to surrounding areas and inhabitants.

The research placement is part of a larger NERC-funded project undertaken by staff in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Sustainable Places Research Institute at Cardiff University in collaboration with the Chengdu Institute of Technology-State Key Laboratory of Geohazard Prevention and Geoenvironment Protection to improve resilience to earthquake-induced landslide risks in China.

The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Competition aims to recognise and reward young people's achievements in all areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and provide them with the opportunity to build their skills and confidence in project-based work. The students, who are finalists for the UK Young Scientist(s) of the Year title, were commended for the scope and potential impact of their placement project and received excellent feedback from the panel of Big Bang judges for their teamwork, analytical, and presentation skills.

The final will take place at the Big Bang Fair held between 15th-16th March at the NEC in Birmingham. We wish Asia, Kate and Evie the best of luck.

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