Indigenous Science Scholars

1 July 2011

For the first time in its 49-year history as many as eight Indigenous Science Scholars will attend the 36th Professor Harry Messel International Science School: Light & Matter (ISS2011), a science education program funded by the Science Foundation for Physics and being held from 3-16 July 2011 at School of Physics in the University of Sydney. Since 2005 at least five places have been offered to Indigenous Science Scholars attending the ISS to encourage them to go onto tertiary study and to work in science related areas.

Professor Clive Baldock, Head, School of Physics, initiated the increase in places stating that it was important to ensure talented Indigenous students were acknowledged and encouraged. "We are very enthusiastic in the School of Physics to increase the number of Indigenous Students studying science. This will be a wonderful opportunity for the eight students who will be attending the International Science School."

The eight Year 11 and 12 students, who are from different parts of Australia, will explore everything from photonics to particle physics to astronomy and beyond as part of the ISS2011. The scholars are very excited about being awarded the places and are looking forward to spending two weeks on the beautiful Sydney campus, learning about the diversity of science while making new friends from different cultures and countries.

Rebekah Raymond, an Indigenous science scholar from the previous International Science School held in 2009, and current science undergraduate at the University of Sydney, will be an ISS2011 'staffie'. Staffies are ISS alumni who volunteer to help the current cohort with the tertiary level science and act as mentors. "The ISS changed my life. After the ISS2009 I went back to Humpty Doo and focussed on doing the best I could to get into Sydney uni. Now I'm here and it's great. I tell my brothers and friends back home to work hard so their dreams will come true too," says Rebekah.

One hundred and fifty ISS scholars will attend the ISS2011 from all over Australia, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Thailand, the UK and the USA. They will take part in a variety of science activities and challenges all planned to help these talented students realise their full scientific potential.

Outstanding scientists donate their time to lecture to these outstanding students. Some of the ISS2011 speakers include Julius Sumner Miller Fellow - Dr Karl Kruszelnicki AM, the invisibility pioneer, Professor Sir John Pendry and Director of Department of Nuclear Science and Particle Physics at the University of Geneva, Professor Allan Clark. Well-known astronomer, Professor Fred Watson, will also be giving a talk to the scholars as will ABC science journalist, Robyn Williams AM. ISS lectures will be podcast from August 2011.

The Professor Harry Messel International Science School, created in 1962 by Professor Harry Messel, is a free science education program.

Contact: Alison Muir

Phone: 02 9036 5194

Email: 202e243a3e264505052a3733070b0b0a0c3b16105424420b30