Members of ExoMol are currently working together with Students from Highams Park School as part of the latest EduTwinkle programme: ORBYTS at Highams Park.
Involving students in state-of-the-art research from an early age eliminates the idea that science is only for the scientists and empowers young people to explore STEM subjects. It is also a great opportunity to dispel harmful stereotypes about who is suitable for STEM careers, while leaving students feeling invested in modern science.
The latest EduTwinkle programme is ORBYTS (Original Research By Young Twinkle Students), which links young PhD and post-doc scientists with groups of secondary school students. Together they perform original research associated with the Twinkle Space Mission, and work towards publications in peer-reviewed journals.
The current ORBYTS cohort is made up exclusively of Highams Park students, and it focuses on molecular astrophysics, with each group of students becoming responsible for one molecule of astronomical interest. Currently there are fifteen 16-18yrs old students working on developing the molecular data for acetylene (C2H2), titanium oxide (TiO) and methane (CH4) all molecules of extreme significance in the study of alien planets.
The ORBYTS programme had an extremely successful launch at UCL on the 25th of January, where the students networked with the Twinkle team and the UCL scientists, and attended a graduate level tutorial to prepare them for the upcoming research.