Woolcock Open Day 2017

issue1517-science-3issue1517-science-2On Saturday 19 August (the day which the crescent moon could be seen above Venus) a group of ten students from Years 7-12 attended the Woolcock Institute Open Day. The Woolcock is a scientific research institute, located in Glebe, that specialises in research into sleep and respiratory disorders. Students attended presentations given by a range of scientists, all with a PhD, outlining the ‘path’ that they have taken that led to a career at the Woolcock. Their backgrounds were very diverse.

One scientist studied in two different universities in New Zealand, moved to Australia as a student to assist his aunty with statistics for her research and ended up at the Woolcock devoting his time to epidemiology.

He is currently designing an experiment to investigate whether some people are affected by very low frequency sounds caused by wind turbines. This involves people living in a room for a period of time exposed to infrasonics produced by speakers, each costing $500 000. He stated that even though he is a scientist, he does not own a lab coat.

The take home message was that scientists work in diverse fields of science and you never know where your training will take you.

Students then had a chance to take part in tours of the labs (in one, witnessing time lapse photography of lung cells regenerating) have their respiratory system tested and see how sleep deprivation affects simulated driving skills.

It was a very rewarding day for all that attended.

Richard Lawton-Wade

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