In a previous edition of Exposure, we described a collaborative venture between CHRC and Brunel University London’s Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) Centre, which was aimed at sharing CHRCs research with secondary school children.
For this, we undertook a pilot programme where we worked with 14-16-year-old pupils over a period of 6 weeks in their School, providing them with opportunities to learn about the historical aspects and personal stories of the nuclear testing programme, the potential adverse effects of radiation and, to get a flavour of CHRCs current research. This pilot was a huge success with both the School and the pupils engaged in the project and, in their development of valuable knowledge and skills.
Since the pandemic, our approach has changed slightly and this summer we re-designed our STEM Bio-radiation module for delivery as part of Brunel STEM Masterclasses. This is where students from local Schools come and attend specialised sessions.
Feedback from participating students and teachers was excellent and with their useful contributions, we have developed training sessions on the effects of ionising radiation on DNA and the biomarkers of radiation exposure that scientists use to investigate past exposures which will be available for scheduling into the ongoing STEM Masterclass and Summer School sessions.
The potential reach in sharing nuclear test veteran’s stories and CHRCs research is increasing through this.
The CHRC hopes that these sessions will provide an important insight into the British nuclear testing during the Cold War, the stories and concerns of veterans, and the effects of ionising radiation exposure.
We also hope they may spark an interest in radiation biology and radiation protection, and that these young students may consider careers in science and radiation biology.