I am finding my students are gaining some sense of reassurance from my contact with them.
One of the things I am sharing with them is some career paths in STEM areas.
We gather at the beginning of the year any ideas they have on a potential career they may be thinking about. We get some interesting ones like roller coaster designer.
We find a lot of students say engineering without realising how many different types of engineering there are.
It is the International Year of Sound so I will start with careers in acoustic engineering, audio engineering (R&D) and being an acoustical scientist.
We have some experience of this since every year we have students go on to study with Salford’s universities acoustic department.
We also visit Salford acoustics with first year A level students. There is an article in the March Classroom Physics magazine on careers in acoustics.
So many different careers to explore in acoustics. The website has a lot of information and case studies of many of these career paths.
It is also has some great advice for students on choosing between STEM based or practitioner based courses.
I have already been sharing the information with our eight students studying maths, physics and music/music technology.
I will be telling all the students this week as the entry requirements do not require the study of musics and we have many students that study maths and physics and are interested in acoustics. The entry requirements are 112-120 UCAS points, including grade C in Mathematics, Physics or a numerate science.
I covered medical physics as a career. We are very lucky to be able to take our students to the Christie Medical Physics Evening
This is a great evening to see how there are many valuable careers working as a medical physicist.
We usually get to pick from the following areas
Over the years I have seen most of these areas and they all have some great teaching ideas to share with you.
For example when we did ultrasound one year we saw how ultrasound is used for imaging and the breaking up of kidney stones. We also heard how ultrasound can be used in water treatment plants to break up rocks and also can assist with the flocculation of fine organic matter. I did not know that ultrasonic knives are used to cut cream cakes.
I also teach Btec applied science and the medical physics unit covers ultrasound. Ultrasound is also one of the first places students come across the idea of impedance matching.
Steve Mould has a really good YouTube channel for both teachers and students. He covers this very well.
Every visit we get some more good physics to talk about. We have been doing interference with the students recently and it was great to have a great example. We saw how a gamma ray or X-ray beam could target a cancer.
A patient in this machine will be breathing so the tumour is moving its position in a rhythmic way.
A system of cameras, lasers and projectors can analysis the interference pattern and alter the gamma ray beam to stay focused on the tumour.
We also have worn lead filled aprons before and last time got to push a lead filled door.
This article was interesting as we had just been studying diffraction gratings. It was great to show how physicists use X-rays to ascertain the structure of viruses. I also showed them a laser shone through a helical filament
The diffraction pattern looked a lot better than in the photograph. I then showed them a picture of Rosalind Franklins discovery