Quantum Buddies and Science Connects join forces to bring STEM Ambassador quantum physics knowledge to teachers

Issued: Fri, 29 Jul 2016 15:09:00 BST

Experts in quantum enhanced imaging, QuantIC, are at the centre of bringing together a consortium of universities such as Universities of Glasgow, Bristol, Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt, Warwick, Oxford and Strathclyde.

In developing the idea of Quantum Buddies, and as part of their remit, they aim to support physics teachers by keeping them up to date with what is happening in the field of enhanced imaging and quantum mechanics through public engagement.

Science Connects, responsible for the STEM Ambassador programme in the West of Scotland, have teamed up with the initiative to provide them with Ambassadors to suit their needs and to help the initiative grow.

Peter Chua, QuantIC’s Public Engagement & Communication Officer based at the University of Glasgow, states that the vision for the programme is “to help develop the next generation of quantum technologists by supporting teachers in this area and raising awareness of new innovation that is happening in the world of Quantum Physics.”

Workshops have gone well and the feedback the project is getting from teachers is highly encouraging. Peter Chua said:

“What we are getting back from teachers is that initially they found some of the topics quite bewildering but they were really interested in find out about some of the research and they could better explain to kids why they should be studying quantum physics.”

QuantIC therefore decided that is was important to set up a mentoring system where teachers could use the expertise within the consortium of universities they had gathered. However, as Peter and others attempted to get the project off the ground they realised that there were plenty of teachers looking for help but not enough academics and researches to pair them with.

Luckily, for Peter and the initiative, Science Connects was on hand to provide STEM Ambassadors as they have for many other projects in the past. SSERC have also come on board to provide Continued Professional Development (CPD) sessions for teachers in the context of the curriculum around quantum physics.

They have also been promoting the project with the help of Glasgow Science Festival with Quantum Physics v Zombies, a theatrical event using Quantum Physics to protect against a zombie attack which can be read about here.

A bank of resources and a Brief Early history of Quantum Physics poster have also been developed and Peter Chua is confident that this new collaboarion between Quantum Buddies and Science Connects can be a real success. He said:

“I’m now working with Science Connects where we are dealing with new and interesting ideas about how we can support teachers who are the people to get kids excited about what’s happening in quantum physics. We’ve got a senior academic at the University of Glasgow labs and PhD students from the University of Strathclyde University who are involved just because they want to encourage people to find out more about the subject.”

The future looks exciting as Peter is beginning work with Laura-Alexandra Smith at Science Connects to role out a bigger pilot of Quantum Buddies to recruit more STEM Ambassadors who might be interested in sgharing their knowledge about quanum physics. They also hope to produce a list of ready made topics which teachers could pick from to aid learning in schools.

If you want to know more about Quantum Buddies or wish to register as a quantum physics STEM Ambassador please visit STEM-Ambassadors@glasgow.ac.uk

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