Tall Poppies Program


Noora Chatrary, Canis Nugroho, Fatima Mozaffari and Xenia Sanut from 10E have nominated themselves to be part of the Growing Tall Poppies Program at La Trobe University, Bundoora. The project runs from 12th to 14th December 2016 where students work for three days with a range of scientists and mentors looking at some of the physics behind a chosen topic. Activities take place over three days at La Trobe University where they will get the chance to use some of the lab spaces and talk to scientific researchers and postgraduate students about what they do. There will be a chance to tour the high-tech facilities on campus and they will prepare a poster and presentation about their project to present on the final day.  Students will be working with researchers in one of the following fields:-



The Australian Synchrotron is an electron accelerator the size of the MCG. It uses electricity to produce intense beams of light a million times brighter than the sun. Scientists use this high energy radiation in a number of ways at various experimental workstations, with applications ranging from medical imaging to looking at artwork to investigating the structure of materials. As part of the Synchrotron Science Growing Tall Poppies Project they will work with mentors and learn how the synchrotron and x-rays can be used to see inside molecules and work out their atomic structure using a technique called x-ray crystallography.

This is the same technique that was used to find the double-helix structure of DNA. They will grow their own crystals and learn about the synchrotron and take a virtual tour of the MX beamlines. They will then learn how to use an x-ray generator to get experimental data from the crystals. Finally, they will see how this data is used to create a model of the atomic structure of the protein the crystals were made from.



There are lots of places that we as humans want to go, but physically can’t, whether it’s due to distance (space), pressure (bottom of the ocean) or safety reasons (quarantine zones). The usual solution to this problem is some form of robot – we send the robot where we can’t go ourselves. These robots take various different shapes and forms depending on the task at hand. As technology gets better and the internet gets faster, interesting avenues of robotics open up such as remote surgery.  As part of the Astronomy, miniaturisation and Medicine Growing Tall Poppies Project they will work with mentors to build and program robots using Lego Mindstorms EV3. These robots are analogues of the rovers used on Mars, and they will explore how they are controlled, and used to investigate the planet.

Ms Mullins, SEAL Manager, 9-10 Science Teacher   


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