BBC School Report 2017

Queen Mary's Physicists of the Year

Two APS Physics students have been awarded the Queen Mary's University Physicist of the Year award.  Queen Mary University run this award to allow different schools across London to reward a GCSE student for their contribution and aptitude for physics.  Kelly Fitzgerald, year 12 and Liliana Newsam-Smith, year 10, attended an awards evening at Queen Mary University last week, which consisted of a lecture and several demonstrations.  Here are the reasons why Kelly and Liliana were nominated.

Kelly was nominated for her consistently impressive physics exam results and her enthusiasm for the primary school science club, where she planned and lead science club sessions at a local primary school.  Liliana was nominated for her impressive physics exam results and for her enthusiasm for the Highgate masterclasses.

Congratulations to both students.


Primary Science Fair

On Thursday 6th July, 120 primary students brought their amazing science projects to APS.  The students came from Rhodes Avenue, Coldfall, St. Martin of Porres, Our Lady of Muswell, St. James, Highgate and St. Michaels N6.  Many schools had already run their own internal science fair, with the winners bringing their projects to represent the school.

The standard of the projects were incredible.  Members of APS leadership team, as well as APS science staff, were highly complementary of both the project displays and the enthusiasm and knowledge of the students.  We were also joined by 5 STEM ambassadors.  The APS staff and the STEM ambassadors judged each project, with my able Y10s and Y12s supporting the event with science busking as well as running the scoring spreadsheet.

In the afternoon we were treated to a fantastic science show from the brilliant Dr Andrew Szydlo, who covered some high-activity chemical reactions as well as the physics of liquid nitrogen!

Every student received a medal and there were many prizes including teamwork, individual prizes and a 1st, 2nd and 3rd.  The overall winners were a project looking at the life cycle of stars from Coldfall School.  It was a great day and everyone involved should be proud.

Our thanks to the Ogden trust for supporting our ongoing work with these primary schools and BigBang in School Fair for supporting the day.

I wanted to say how great the Science Fair on Thursday was. It was an excellent day, really well organised and the children had a fabulous time. Thank you so much for organising it!Mr. Morrisey, Coldfall Primary School
The children had a lovely day, they were raving about it all the way back.Ms. Matthews, Our Lady of Muswell Primary School

CERN Trip 2017

31 Year 12 physics students have recently returned from a fantastic visit to the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.  The three-day residential trip composed of a lecture and tour of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) detector and an amazing opportunity to discuss and ask questions of a number of physicists working at CERN.

We also had the opportunity to visit two wonderful museums at CERN giving an interactive guide and explanation of the history of CERN and how the particles are accelerated to almost the speed of light and then made to collide into each other releasing a host of sub atomic particles that lead to the famous discovery of the Higgs Boson in 2012!

Not only did we have the opportunity to visit the World’s Greatest Experiment we were also fortunate enough to experience the delights of Swiss culture with a free music festival as well as cooling off in Lake Geneva.  All the students had a fantastic time and here are a selection of comments and photos from the trip.

Visiting CERN rekindled my enthusiasm for physics, as it allowed me to see it being applied on a big scale. Thursday was mainly taking in the culture and wandering round the area, Friday we visited the main CERN site; we had an insightful talk, which explained the sciences behind the colliders and their aims at CERN. After we were talking about how impressive our lecturers’ recall of knowledge was. Seeing the collaborative nature of the project was warming as people from all over the world come to visit, work and study at CERN. Going swimming in the lake was an amazing experience and was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I particularly liked the Universe of Particles exhibition, the visuals and detailed explanations consolidated my knowledge and gave me deeper insight into one of the most interesting areas of physics. Only problem was I was really tired when I got back. Louise Hagger
Not often would I genuinely call any experience ‘once-in-a-lifetime’, but the APS trip to CERN was truly unmissable. The 3 days we spent in the stunning country of Switzerland was packed with science, adventure and above all, fun. Not a single second from take-off to landing proved to be dull. The talks and tours were engaging, informative and exceedingly interesting; the walks through Geneva’s old town were culturally enriching, picturesque and wonderfully characteristic. As you approached CERN, you could feel a distinct aura of intelligence and wisdom from miles away, housing the world’s most famous experiment, a delightful museum showing the intricacies of the oldest supercollider, and an even more detailed microcosm (with a cloud chamber that you would not believe). Geneva is one of those extremely unique cities that you simply do not want to leave, and only after seeing CERN, the United Nations headquarters and the picturesque Lake Geneva (that you get the opportunity to swim in!) will you see just how right I am.Tomasz Mistela
The CERN trip was both fun and interesting.  The lecture from a scientist who worked at CERN managed to be understandable- as it involved topics we were currently learning about in class and also challenging enough to be interesting. Visiting CMS was amazing. The scope of all of the equipment and the engineering that went into creating it was incredible and being able to go down and look at everything was great inside for people looking to go into similar fields.
Separate from the science, the cultural experience was fun. The food at CERN was better than any of us ever thought it would be and being able to visit sites in Geneva such as the UN building, the beautiful lake and the old town was a good way to spend our time outside of learning.Paul Chessum
Switzerland, where do I begin? The land of physics. I arrived to Geneva with reservations about how my knowledge would deal with the greatest scientific research programme in the world. I soon learnt that I had nothing to worry about…
We visited one of four detectors at CERN, the CMS and we also went to interesting museums. We were even lucky enough to eat at the CERN restaurant with some of the world’s leading professors. The particle accelerator was mesmerising and the science behind it was truly captivating. During the weeks before we left for Geneva, we had learnt about a bit behind the physics at CERN so when it came to the tour and lecture I had bags of questions ready to test the scientists.
During our time in CERN we managed to also find some free time to enjoy the surroundings and relax on Lake Geneva. We also had a walk around the old town and the city was alive with the music festival, which was very enjoyable. On the last day we squeezed in time to see the UN headquarters. What a trip!Ben Showell
I had a great time at CERN, it was very interesting learning how the particle accelerator works and seeing around what went behind the scenes, for example going into the CMS (compact muon solenoid). The museums were very inspiring as well with excellent visual information. Other than the actual​learning part, Switzerland was a very beautiful country and where we stayed in Geneva had a great atmosphere and the people were kind and the weather was perfect. The city at night and day had great views of the late and monuments which made the trip that much better.James Jones-Smith
“Our trip to CERN started off with a lecture by a physicist from Bristol University. The talk went into depth on the way the Large Hadron Collider works, the particles involved, the discoveries made and the aims of the programme in the long term. The science involved was fairly advanced, but remained interesting and accessible. Following this, we were taken to the CMS - Compact Muon Solenoid, one of the four particle detectors situated around the LHC. There, we were split into groups and taken on a tour of certain parts of the building by a CERN physicist. This tour was very interesting, enlightening us on the complex role of the CMS in the detection of particles produced by collisions in the LHC, such as the Higgs-Boson. Our tour guide explained the process by which scientists decide which collisions are interesting, and should be saved to look at in greater detail. We were then taken down the 100m to the level of the actual detector. This was the most interesting aspect of the trip- there were many signs up with warnings of radioactivity and strong magnetic fields. Our tour guide showed us how a chain of metal paper clips would not hang straight down, but was curved, due to the magnetic field of the CMS around 30m away.
Then we were taken back to the main reception at CERN, where we were lucky enough to have lunch in the large canteen. There was a wide variety of food there, reflecting the many nationalities of the scientists who work there. Once we sat down in the canteen, it was fascinating to be amongst all of these scientists, and see them discussing their work. One of the main points I took away from this visit was the wide variety of skills and jobs required at CERN- not only physicists are required, but engineers, geologists, computer scientists, statisticians, mathematicians and many more. It was a fantastic place to see the huge number of jobs stemming from STEM subjects, and the immense impact global scientific collaboration can make.
Outside of CERN we also had many fun experiences, such as walking around Lake Geneva to the old town, walking down the pier in the evening and visiting the UN Headquarters just a tram ride away. One afternoon we went swimming in the lake, which was refreshing after a long morning in the Swiss sun. After a swim in the water, we played card games and even played a long game of volleyball in the water. This was fun and a great end to the day.Clare Walsh
Previous  Set 1/3  Next

APS Students Win TeenTech Award

On Monday 26th June I was very proud to accompany Jamie Toeg and Ted Proctor and their project BEBL to the TeenTech finals. Jamie and Ted have been working on BEBL all year, it is a biometric, electromagnetic bike lock – BEBL!

They have researched & designed this themselves and even made a prototype biometric switch and low power electromagnet. During the process, they have been in touch with STFC and Maplin. Maplin showed great interest in the invention.

TeenTech runs the year-round initiative with leading industry partners to challenge young people aged 11-18 to develop solutions to key societal, health and environmental issues using the power of science, technology and engineering.

BEBL was awarded a gold TeenTech award for their project and invited to the finals at the royal society where they would compete against the other top projects in their category.

The winning projects were chosen by a panel of judges made up of celebrities, journalists and eminent academics, including BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC Click reporter Kate Russell and Scientist and TV Presenter Fran Scott. Dragon’s Den host Evan Davis, Channel 4’s Dr Christian Jessen, Sky presenter Gemma Morris, and celebrity physicist Brian Cox, also met students on the day.

and the judges said…


Alexandra Park School for BEBL - A biometric bike lock that lets riders 'stick' their bike to any metal surface using electromagnets.

BEBL won the security category! Jamie and Ted were deservedly chuffed with the trophy and £150 of iTunes vouchers, and it made me even more proud. Since returning to school the judges from Symantec have been in touch asking Jamie and Ted if they would like further support to take the idea forward!  Look out for BEBL in your local bike stores in the near future!

Also as champions they will be invited to a reception with His Royal Highness the Duke of York KG at Buckingham Palace in the autumn term!

TeenTech co-founder and Tomorrow’s World presenter Maggie Philbin OBE says: “This is the fifth annual TeenTech Awards and we’re constantly blown away by the standard of entries. 2017 has been no exception and we’re seeing again how with the right support and encouragement, young people are more than capable of shaping their own future. The Awards are without doubt the highlight of the TeenTech calendar and really sum up what we’re about: embracing creative talent; putting youngsters face-to-face with industry professionals; and inspiring them to see the power and potential of their ideas. It’s also exciting to see the girls continuing to buck STEM traditions by leading the way.”

Link to TeenTech website
Also featured in the Evening Standard

Teen Tech was a fantastic experience for us in many ways.  It allowed us to take what we had learned in the classroom and put it into practice in real life, which we would normally never get a chance to do.  It encouraged us to expand our horizon and not think about if the idea is possible but when the idea could become possible, which allowed us to develop BEBL. 

When we were designing BEBL we encountered a lot of problems and had to think like engineers.  When a problem was fixed 2 new ones arose and we had to troubleshoot our problems.  We feel like our CAD skills have definately developed and we had to master new software, such as SolidWorks and Arduino coding, which is all very useful in STEM and science-related careers.

TeenTech has been great for us because it allowed us to design our own idea from start to finish.  On the award day we could collaberate with other schools and learn about their projects.  It was a great opportunity to have a look at what could be the ideas of the future and meet students with similar interests.

In the future we hope that BEBL will become a real product.  We received an enormous amount of compliments and some great new ideas which we think could help take BEBL into the market, all while enjoying a fantastic day at the Royal Society.

Jamie, TeenTech Winner
Previous  Set 1/2  Next

BBC Reports from 2017

  • LGBT+ representation in Alexandra Park School
    LGBT+ representation in Alexandra Park School
    Kiah Cruise writes...

    As we know, LGBT+ media representation is hard to come by, and when you do, it isn't always positive.  However, Alexandra Park School does its best to recognise and educate its pupils on LGBT+ rights, discrimination and abuse that they suffer, types of sexuality, and gives plenty of support to openly, or privately, LGBT+ students.

    One way that they support these students is by having an LGBT+ Support and Pride network group, of which I am a member myself.  In the club, we discuss important issues surrounding LGBT+ people, and their rights.  We have recently had a session in shich people told stories of 'coming out' as LGBT+, and most were positive.  The club also gives us a chance to meet similar-minded people, whether they just support members of the community, or are part of it.  To improve the already large amount of bad and discouraging recognition given to homophobia, the club is also setting up an anti-homophobia campaign, which includes students and teachers on the proper use of the word 'gay', raising awareness of subtle bullying that members of the community may experience, directing positive messages about the community towards younger, less educated students, and abolishing harmful stereotypes of LGBT+ men, women and non-binary-gendered personnel.

    As well as the club, students are taught about sexualities in Citizenship, vaguely, which opens up the possibilities of properly informed, positive representation from a figure of authority.  This is a really important step to seeing same sex / asex relationships as equal as equal to heterosexual ones.

    In terms of work to do, there is still a long way to go.  Even with small actions, such as calling transgender students by their preferred name in class, even if they haven't legally changed it, would mean so much to those students, and the rest of the community.  Being called by their preferred names, transgender students would feel more accepted and comfortable in a learning environment.  We also get very little support and education on gender image, which many people (especially at the ages of 13-17) do need help with, and can be questioning.

    Written on Thursday, 16 March 2017 14:15 in BBC School Report 2017 Read 551 times
  • Science Week 2017 - an article for BBC Schools report 2017
    Science Week 2017 - an article for BBC Schools report 2017

    Science week is a yearly event that Alexandra Park School takes part in every year.  It is a great opportunity for students to learn about science whilst having fun too.

    There were many events throughout the week, of which some I was able to take pictures of.

    Monday - 'Minibeasts'

    In this activity, we were investigating the effects of alcohol, caffeine and glucose on water fleas.  It was very interesting as you could see the microscopic life forms very clearly through the microscope, and the results were very interesting.

    sci wk 01sci wk 02

    Tuesday - Chemistry special

    In the chemistry special, we did two activities.  The first was growing a chemical garden.  To do this we dropped different substances intto a clear substance and they grew into fascinating formations right before our eyes.  The second activity was called 'rainbow titration'.  By pouring different substances into the tube, an amazing rainbow slowly formed.

    sci wk 03bsci wk 04c

    By Helen Brookes
    Science Week took place nationally from 10th - 19th March.  Read more about Science Week at APS here.
    Written on Thursday, 16 March 2017 14:37 in BBC School Report 2017 Read 567 times
  • Donald Trump - an APS news item for BBC School report 2017
    Donald Trump - an APS news item for BBC School report 2017

    Some APS students decided to report on Donald Trump for BBC School Report day 2017.

    The video is about what our views are on the leader of the free world; why he came to power, who he connected with in his drive for the preseidency and what impact this has on both us locally and the world as a whole.

    Written on Thursday, 16 March 2017 14:18 in BBC School Report 2017 Read 677 times
  • Sports news for BBC School report 2017
    Sports news for BBC School report 2017

    APS Students participating in BBC School Report day 2017 report on sports in the video below.

    Written on Thursday, 16 March 2017 14:03 in BBC School Report 2017 Read 416 times