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The IRIS project enables students do original research on a topic of our choice. We then create a poster of our findings and present our research at a conference where students from across the country come together to present their projects.

One of our projects was 'The use of magnetic fields in active shielding on spacecraft'. This project involved both getting experimental data on the deflection of beta particles (ionising radiation) by magnetic fields, as well as theorising how superconducting magnets could be used to deflect ionising radiation on spacecraft. The other project was 'How effectively does the atmosphere absorb radiation'. To do this, we measured the radiation experienced on Earth over a week with solar flares with satellite data to see the effect of the atmosphere in blocking radiation. Both of these projects ran into quite a few setbacks, such as experimental data being lost and equipment not working as intended. Despite this, we all persevered through these challenges and developed as a team and as individuals.

The conference was an eye-opening experience for all of us. Being able to converse with like-minded individuals on topics that ranged from examining DNA to cosmic mining was marvellous. The conference was split into two sections: Presentations and Posters. In the presentation sections, a few schools would speak to everyone present on their project - their aims, their results, their setbacks and conclusions. During the poster sections, people visited our poster and asked us questions about our projects and findings. In addition to this, we also visited other people's posters, and were able to interact with them about their project. As well as this, we were given talks by several renowned professors, including Dr Herik Melin and Tom Welton.

Overall, this not only allowed us to network with similar-minded individuals and acclaimed academics, but it also gave us insight into fields in which we had little-to-no knowledge about previously. In addition, this helped us understand research better, and helped us grow as people.

Wilson’s School

A boys’ grammar school in the London Borough of Sutton (UK), Wilson’s School is:

  • committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment
  • a charitable company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales (no. 7536970). Registered office: Mollison Drive, Wallington, Surrey SM6 9JW
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