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Highgate School hits new heights with a cosmic mission

PUBLISHED: 19:46 15 September 2008 | UPDATED: 15:23 07 September 2010

By Susanna Wilkey A COSMIC mission has been launched at Highgate School this week with an innovative new project. Scientists from King s College London have begun a venture with the pupils to detect, analyse and understand the effects of cosmic rays. It i

By Susanna Wilkey

A COSMIC mission has been launched at Highgate School this week with an innovative new project.

Scientists from King's College London have begun a venture with the pupils to detect, analyse and understand the effects of cosmic rays.

It is the first project of its kind in the UK and is designed to involve students in real scientific research.

Specially built cosmic ray detectors have been set up in the school grounds and pupils will be involved in experiments which could make important contributions to scientific discovery in the field.

Head of physics David Smith is enthusiastic about the scheme. He said: "I've wanted to become involved in such a project since hearing about one of the North American ones.

"At Highgate it's not just the science students who have become involved, but also those studying art and design who have provided attractive and innovative detector housings."

The experiments will directly relate to the GCSE and A-level syllabuses and enhance pupils' learning through direct experience.

Cosmic rays are subatomic particles from space which are continually bombarding the earth, and are crucial to interpreting how the universe was created.

Understanding their behaviour also has important implications for astronauts exploring space.

They are generated by the sun or by sources such as neutron stars, supernovae and black holes in the galaxy and are so small they cannot be seen or felt.

Read more on this in this week's edition of the Ham&High, out on Thursday.


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