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Budding scientist wins top award at a national science competition
A BUDDING scientist from Dorchester impressed her peers when she won a prestigious award at an annual science event.
Former Thomas Hardye School student Abigail Davies won the Institute of Physics Prize in the National Science and Engineering Competition for a project she completed when at the school.
Abigail attended the awards ceremony, which was held in London, as part of the annual UK Scientists’ and Engineers’ fair The Big Bang.
The 19-year-old fought off stiff competition from 155 other entries but she managed to scoop the prize with her project on making waves.
She was awarded £500 and a trip to the world-leading fusion research laboratory Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in Oxfordshire.
Abigail, who is now at Liverpool University, received the award from scientist Professor Brian Cox, as seen on the BBC’s Wonders of the Universe, and Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell-Burnell.
She said: “There were so many other amazing projects so I was really shocked to win.
“For the people who know about the award, it is quite prestigious and it’s a real honour to win it.
“I don’t want to seem like a know it all so I’ve kept it quite quiet, but everyone whose heard about it has been really impressed.”
Those aged between 11 and 18 across the UK were given the chance to enter the National Science and Engineering Competition if they completed a project or activity in any field of science, technology, engineering or maths.
A group of Thomas Hardye pupils attended the event alongside award-winner Abigail to represent the school’s Fossil Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics club (STEM).
Year 10 student Akanksha Kiran said: “It was so inspiring and amazing to be there and also made for a very enjoyable science experience.”
Alexandra Burden, Lawrence Whatley and Abigail also made it to the finals of Young Scientist and Engineer of the Year.
Dr Jeremy Rowe, STEM club leader and biology teacher at the Thomas Hardye School, was also shortlisted as a finalist in the Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust Teachers Award.
Charles Tracy, head of education at the Institute of Physics and one of the judges at the competition said: "I’m delighted to award Abigail her prize for a truly inspiring project.
“All the judges were left truly overwhelmed by the standard of entries.
“It’s left me hugely excited about the future of science and engineering in the UK.”