Abi Davies (second from left) receives her prize from Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell, DBE, FRS, FRAS and Professor Brian Cox OBE at the Big Bang 2011.

Making waves

28 March 2012

Abi Davies, a student from Thomas Hardye School in Dorset, used Met Office data for a project that won a prestigious prize from the Institute of Physics.

Using a seismometer (a device for measuring the movement of the Earth's surface), in partnership with the British Geological Survey's UK School Seismology project, Abi looked at the relationship between sea state and seismic noise. The project involved analysing sea state and wave height data from the Met Office to prove that local wave height does affect background seismic noise.

The project was carried out in Abi's final year at Thomas Hardye School (THS). She was mentored by Jim Nicholson, a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Ambassador from Atlas Elektronik, and Tom Hearing also of THS who was named UK Young Scientist of the Year at the 2010 Big Bang Fair.

Judith Wardlaw, Industry Partnership Development Manager at THS, said: "Abi and Tom visited the Met Office in 2009 as part of our Maths/Physics enrichment programme and that gave them the opportunity to negotiate the use of the data - a school visit can bring unexpected bonuses!"

Abi received her Prize for Physics from Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell, DBE, FRS, FRAS and Professor Brian Cox OBE at the Big Bang 2011. Now studying geophysics at the University of Liverpool, Abi said: "It was a huge honour to win the Institute of Physics prize and especially to be presented it by Professors Brian Cox and Jocelyn Bell Burnell. The Met Office provided sea state data for three locations around South West England. Without the data, my project would not have been possible and I would not have won the Institute of Physics prize."

This year, we're supporting the Big Bang South West awards ceremony and the science shows in June at the University of Exeter. We'll have a stand at the event too.

Scientists of tomorrow

STEMNET is a national organisation which creates opportunities to inspire young people in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

STEM Ambassadors are people from STEM backgrounds who volunteer as inspiring role models for young people. They can contribute both to regular lessons or participate in extracurricular activities. STEM Ambassadors open the door to a whole new world for young people, helping them to see STEM subjects and careers with a fresh perspective and engage their interest and imagination in new ways.

The Met Office fully supports employees becoming STEM Ambassadors. One of our Sustainability objectives for 2011/12 was to increase the number and we have achieved this with 45 staff now registered as STEM Ambassadors. As well as encouraging more staff to join the scheme, our aim in 2012/13 is for our Ambassadors to attend a greater number of STEM events so more young people have the opportunity to benefit from their skills and enthusiasm.

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