Short physics films swept the board at the Planet SciCast awards ceremony, a competition for young people across the UK who have made mini movies of exciting science experiments, on Monday, 30 March.
Of Planet SciCast’s twelve award categories, five were subject specific (best biology, chemistry, engineering, earth and environmental sciences, and physics films) while the other categories were open to entries from all of the science disciplines, including awards for most entertaining, best technical and artistic achievement and best presenter.
Two physics films attracted particular attention: a girl group’s rap called the Geiger-Müller Groove won the most entertaining, best original score and best physics film; while an animation film about the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)’s search for the God Particle, made using Stop Motion, won awards for best technical and artistic achievement and best film from a secondary school.
Caitlin Watson, physics in society manager at the Institute of Physics (IOP), sponsor of the physics award, said, “The entries to the competition this year have been outstanding and the ingenuity with which the students have approached the topics show brilliantly how creativity and imagination are vital elements of science.”
The Year 12 rap group from Sydenham High School in South East London takes £600 worth of Amazon vouchers back to their school for the three award wins but, as the awards ceremony’s compere, Kate Humble, presenter of ‘Springwatch’, said, success at the awards ceremony highlights the girls’ skill at communicating physics in a novel and entertaining way that will undoubtedly catch the eye of science show TV producers.
The girls from Sydenham High School disagree with the notion that physics is hard. Natania Dunher, who wrote the rap about Alpha, Beta and Gamma particles, and the music for the film, said, “We really enjoyed learning about it and it’s an easy topic to write about.”
Despite the successful outcome, the girls say that it only took them two hours to film and about six to edit. All in a day’s work!
Inspired by the media frenzy that surrounded the LHC’s switch-on last September, two students from Hampton School’s, Middlesex, film club, Tom Sammut, 17, and Jamie Grace, 16, have made a technically superb film, hosted by an animated crazy professor, explaining the search for sub-atomic particles, including the God Particle, which ends with a cheeky wink to the possibility of us all being gobbled up by a LHC-created black hole.
Before the awards ceremony, Jonathan Kestenbaum, chief executive of NESTA, said, “We’ve been really impressed by the quality of the films we received. They show that science can be exciting, relevant and even very amusing. It’s never been a more important time to engage young people with this subject. Scientific innovation and creativity are the key to tackling the enormous challenges our society faces such as climate change. If the UK is to take a lead in addressing this, we must act now to ensure that we have a wave of young people excited by science, who want to develop a career in it.”
All films are available on the Planet SciCast website.