Thomas Lovell and Aiden Irving, Year 10 students at Oakhill College, were awarded third prize in the 2019 University of Sydney Sleek Geeks Science Eureka Prize (Secondary School) at the National Science Awards held in Sydney on Wednesday, 28 August. The highly coveted awards received over 100 entries across Australia from both secondary and primary schools.
Thomas and Aiden’s submission ‘How was the picture of a Black Hole Taken?’ explores how astronomers revealed earlier this year, the first-ever picture of a black hole. The two budding science students examined the physics of event horizons, the mechanics of cameras, and how Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) works, to understand how a black hole, being highly dense and emitting no light, was imaged.
Honoring excellence in all areas of science, the Eureka Prizes are Australia’s most comprehensive national science awards.
Students entering the prestigious competition work collaboratively, producing a video to communicate a scientific concept in a way that is accessible and entertaining to the public while painlessly increasing their science knowledge or, as the Sleek Geeks like to say, ‘learn without noticing’.
Thomas and Aiden never imagined to be amongst the finalists in the Eureka Prizes, seen as the ‘Oscars’ of Australian Science, let alone winning third prize.
“To receive this award is such an honor and I am very proud alongside Aiden, to be a ‘Sleek Geek’. I am very passionate about science, particularly space, which prompted me to investigate the topic. I believe that science can teach you many capabilities that can be used in all aspects of life.’
‘I am very thankful for Mr Hamilton and Ms Wong for having given up their personal time to help with our project and allowing us the opportunity to continue to grow and learn.’ said Thomas.
Oakhill College’s Academic Head of Science, Chiquita Rugg, fully supports students entering competitions and gaining practical knowledge to fuel their passion for science.
‘By studying science, you are by default studying writing, analysis, public speaking, critical thinking, teamwork, leadership, ethics, creativity and so much more. These skills are enormously valuable in the wider marketplace. It is important that students realise that science is not all about the periodic table, nor is it all about making copper sulfate crystals. It is much more than that. So, if you get a thrill out of analyzing data in the lab, or identifying particular species of animals, follow your dream and seek out all things science.’ said Ms Rugg.
Ms Rugg said that the participation of over 40 students at the College demonstrated the College’s commitment to igniting a passion for science, encouraging investigative work and promoting the benefits that science brings to our world.
“We want to encourage all students to have a go, be curious and inquisitive so that they can learn and develop to their full potential,” she said.