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Materials science – far from immaterial!

Nanotechnology, plasma generators, liquid nitrogen…and more

The exciting world of nanotechnology was incredible to see.  Eight students went to Oxford to see where learning about material science can take you. It was a fascinating trip to Begbroke Oxford Nanomaterials workshop, and included a visit to Oxford University’s Materials Science Department.We met with PhD students who talked to us about their projects, many for multi million pound companies.  We did six different activities designed to show us what nanotechnology is all about and to show us some of the uses in product design.  For example, we saw coatings that had been applied to a tissue which were completely waterproof.

In the afternoon, after a well-earned rest in the shade of the trees outside the Natural History Museum, we were lucky enough to be shown round a Material Science lab.  They showed us many fascinating instruments and lasers, and demonstrated things such as how temperature can change a magnetic state by using liquid nitrogen.  It was amazing. 

We walked back through Oxford looking at some of the colleges and enjoying the sunshine.  It was a truly inspirational day and many parents have already been in contact to say how inspired their children were by the visit.