Two groups from Holly Lodge entered the Big Bang North West Competition yesterday. A group of year 9 Students Jamie Lee Zwart, Emma Field, Caitlin Bailey McCarthy, Laura Stockley, Jennifer Evans, Cerys Morton & Nieve Roberts with their experience of controlling the Faulkes Telescope in Hawaii from Dr Walsh’s lab to look at star formation. The students used the Faulkes Telescope to take pictures at three different wavelengths of the M51 Whirlpool Galaxy, M63 sunflower Galaxy and M101 Pinwheel Galaxy. This enabled them to predict where about in the galaxy new stars were being formed. The students have been asked to write a news report on this project for the telescope website.

The other group from year 11 were presenting the experimental work that they did on genetic transformation of E. coli bacteria with the pGLO plasmid. This allowed the students to effectively take the gene for green fluorescent protein (GFP) from a jelly fish Aequorea Victoria and insert it into bacteria allowing them glow green under ultra violet light. The students all presented their work to the judges at the Big Bang North West in St Georges Hall, explaining their hypothesis, their methodology, results and conclusions. The students in year 11 Hollie Adair, Casey Spencer, Katie Sherman & Francesca Sloane impressed the judges so much that they won the prize for Best Use of Practical Science – A trip to China to do science with Chinese students in December 2013. The prize is awarded by the University of Bradford working with the All China Practical Science Festival.

In science we are very proud of the achievements of all the students who have been dedicated to working on their projects each Thursday after school in STEM Club with Dr Walsh and Mr Riddell and that this dedication has been recognised by the Big Bang North West.

Mr Riddell & Dr Walsh.