Wednesday, 30 April 2014

University of Surrey Wider Participation Event

Monday 28th April saw a faithful band of SATRO volunteers head to the University of Surrey Wider Participation Event in Guildford to help support and guide 150 Year 8 students, from numerous schools around Surrey, through the vagaries of the SATRO Business Game. The students were placed into 19 teams which later became stationery companies and each team had either their own student ambassador courtesy of the University, or one of our own volunteers as a business advisor. More of our volunteers were on hand to play the various roles inherent in business with ‘the buying team’ negotiating hard with the students, many of whom refused to compromise. Bank accounts were opened and money managed whilst ‘the bosses’ kept everyone on track.

These student comments illustrate the valuable skills learnt...

"I learned more about working in a team and it has helped me think about what sort of job I would like in the future. It was harder than I expected but I enjoyed it."

"I learnt how to adjust to working with people that I've never met before. I learned how a company works and how much work is needed in a company, and also the roles that are given to people."

For all who were involved, the day was hugely enjoyable with everyone being impressed by the students’ eagerness to learn and take part.

As one of our dedicated volunteers summed up, "An excellent use of business terms and ideas for students to understand and implement. A great insight into the world of work."

Friday, 25 April 2014


St Bede's Junior School in Woking held a Mega-Structures Challenge on 24th April in which their Year 5 pupils were tested on their engineering skills. 60 pupils took part in The Bridge Building Challenge. The day involved using design and build techniques, combined with team-work, to create a bridge structure entirely of rolled paper held together with nuts and bolts. They then tested the strength of the structure by hanging weights from the bridge. It's safe to say the Year 5 classes are now full with plenty of budding engineers!

One pupil said,“It has made me feel that engineering can be fun and challenging at the same time. It made me realise that engineering is a career that I am thinking about going into when I am older.”

Another pupil said,“It was really fun and I would definitely do it again. I understand that when I am older it will be important that we cooperate and use some imagination and to work together as a team. I like engineering, I will definitely do it at GCSE level. It made me want to build a bike, car or house out of paper!”

Thursday, 24 April 2014


On this day in 1928, the fathometer was patented by Herbert Grove Dorsey. The fathometer is an active sonar instrument used for navigation and safety to determine the depth of water. The fathom is a unit of water depth, which is where the instrument gets its name. The fathometer is an echo sounding system for measurement of water depth. A fathometer will display water depth and can make an automatic permanent record of measurements. When being operated, an electrical impulse from a transmitter is converted into a sound wave by an underwater transducer called a hydrophone which is then sent into the water. When the sound wave hits an object, i.e. the bottom of the ocean, it bounces back and records how many fathoms deep the water is.

Friday, 18 April 2014


On this day in 1925, the first Woman’s World’s Fair in the U.S was officially opened in Chicago, Illinois, by Mrs Calvin Coolidge. For eight days, it displayed women’s progress in 70 industries. This showed the diversification since the 1893 World’s Fair, where the only example of women’s handiwork was the sewing exhibit. The numerous booths at the fair showed women’s accomplishments in the arts, literature, science and industry. These exhibits were also intended as a source for young women seeking information on careers. Among the exhibitors at the fair were major corporations, such as Illinois Bell Telephone Company and the major national and regional newspapers. Local manufacturers, banks, stores, hospitals, and women inventors, artists, and lawyers set up booths demonstrating women’s contributions in these fields and possibilities for employment. The 1925 fair raised $50,000 and was so successful that it was held for three more years.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014


An Apprenticeship is a great way for young people and adult learners to earn while they learn in a real job, gaining a real qualification and setting sights for a real future. Hiring apprentices can help businesses grow their own talent by developing a motivated, skills and qualified workforce. From accountancy to veterinary nursing, there are Apprenticeships covering more skills and industries that anyone could imagine. Apprenticeships are available at a range of levels covering more than 170 industries and 1500 job roles, from advertising to youth work via environmental engineering and nuclear decommissioning. Apprenticeships are a great opportunity for both a business and a potential employee.

Find out more about Apprenticeships here.

Monday, 14 April 2014


SATROClub is aimed at Surrey students in years 9-13 who are interested in science, technology, engineering or maths. They can register to receive a regular newsletter with information about:

- Careers using STEM skills
- Careers events and exhibitions
- Opportunities to meet with local businesses and training providers
- Work experience opportunities
- Companies who want to recruit school and college leavers with GCSEs and/or A levels using STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths)
- Apprenticeships and jobs with training leading to recognised qualifications

Students who are interested should email to register.

They can also follow SATROClub on twitter: @Satroclub for facts, jobs and general information.

For more information about SATROClub click here.

Friday, 11 April 2014

This Day In Science History - 11th April - Parkinson's Disease

In 1952, Parkinson's disease was successfully treated with surgery for the first time. A team led by Irving Cooper in Islip, New York, operated on the brain of patient Raymond Walker. Before the general availability of L-dopa in 1968, the treatment of Parkinson's disease stressed surgery. An early procedure of choice was the pedunculotomy, to reduce tremour. While performing this procedure in 1952, he unintentionally disturbed the patient's anterior choroidal artery (AChA) and was forced to re-connect the artery and abort the pedunculotomy. When the patient awoke from anesthesia, his tremour and rigidity had disappeared, and his motor and sensory functions were preserved. Cooper then began to ligate the AChA purposely to reduce tremor in patients.

Thursday, 10 April 2014


Play to Cure: Genes in Space is the world's first free mobile game app that uses the collective force of players to analyse real genetic data and help beat cancer sooner. The mission of Genes in Space is to collect a fictional substance dubbed Element Alpha. This represents genetic cancer data, which might underpin certain types of cancer. By playing Genes in Space you will be analysing significant amounts of genetic data which would have taken scientists hours to do. This data can then be used to develop new life saving treatments. Remember the app is completely free, so you can enjoy playing a game whilst helping cure cancer faster!

Click here for more information about the free mobile game app

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

This Day In Science History - 9th April - The Mercury Seven

In 1959, NASA disclosed the selection of America’s first seven astronauts for Project Mercury. Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard and Donald Slayton were chosen from 110 applicants. They then embarked on a training program at Langley, which ranged from a graduate-level course in introductory space science to simulator training and scuba-diving. Project Mercury, NASA’s first high profile program, was an effort to learn if humans could survive in space. NASA required astronaut candidates to be male, under 40 years old, no more that 5’11” in height and in excellent physical condition. On 5th May 1961, Alan Shepard, on of the seven applicants to be chosen, became the first American in space. 

Tuesday, 8 April 2014


The Surrey County Scholars' Award scheme provides bursary support for talented young people from Surrey who are intending to study science, technology or engineering at university. The bursary is usually £1,000 per annum throughout their university undergraduate career. Potential scholars must be nominated by their school or college. Get your nominations in soon - the deadline for possible candidates is 11th April 2014!

Click here for application form


After five months working with their mentor from Cisco, the overall winner of this year’s challenge was the team from Tiffin Girls’ School. Their idea for an app On-Sign (and Kid-Sign) - which show a signer (for deaf viewers) on a mobile or tablet computer alongside the TV – was chosen by the X-factor judges ahead of other brilliant apps from ten other schools. The teams had a great day at Cisco’s HQ at Bedfont Lakes including a wonderful exchange with Dr Lance Ford in his office in Arizona.

Monday, 7 April 2014


70 students, from a range of different year groups (14-16 Yr olds) at The Howard of Effingham School got to meet a huge variety of business professionals on Thursday 3rd April during a frantic 1 ½ hours of Careers Speed Dating. We had scientists, engineers, a software developer, web designers, a copy writer, a film and video producer, a florist, a creative learning manager, a lawyer, marketing & computer effects manager, an accountant, a psychologist, a life coach, all of whom were passionate & enthusiastic about their chosen careers.

The students were put into small groups and had 5 minutes to quiz their business volunteer, who was only allowed to answer yes or no thereby requiring the students to try & guess their profession. A further 5 minutes of frantic questioning followed to ascertain exactly what they did for a living and how they had got where they were. A whistle sounded and another willing volunteer from a different profession presented themselves for questioning.

It was fast, frenetic and enormous fun with the students commenting afterwards "I enjoyed talking and getting an insight into the different jobs and seeing the different career opportunities.”, and "I am surprised that there are such a wide variety of jobs available and that you can get a long way by working your way up in a company. I enjoyed hearing about the businesses, people's jobs and how they got there." What was clear from their feedback was that it had really changed their perception of what the future holds for them & makes it seem less daunting.

Thursday, 3 April 2014


Two Discovery Science Workshops took place in local schools over the past two days: Shottermill Infant School in Haslemere and Ottershaw Primary School in Chertsey. Over 150 pupils across the two schools participated. The pupils at Ottershaw Primary learnt about the forces and engineering behind building water rockets and had the chance to build and launch their own. Meanwhile, the pupils at Shottermill Infant School also built and learnt about water rockets during the morning.  The afternoon session was devoted to investigating forces in structures and a K’nex Structure Challenge in which they had to towers using K’nex and their engineering knowledge in a time limit of 50 minutes.

The pupils thoroughly enjoyed the activities and learnt new concepts. One pupil said, "I enjoyed myself today and I would love to do it again!" A teacher commented, "I am a school governor, observing science lessons, I am also an engineer! I was hugely impressed and inspired by this lesson. It is so important that our children understand the value of science and engineering. What I have seen today is vital if we are to achieve this. I feel honoured to have witnessed today's lesson."


Another two Rocks and Soils workshops were held this week in Leatherhead schools: at West Hill school and St Peter's RC Primary school.  Led by SATRO’s professional geologist, participants had a hands-on opportunity to investigate rock specimens and even had an opportunity to make impressions of some fossils. Simple experiments were conducted to identify different mineral samples and an introduction to soils enabled the pupils to have an understanding of their geological environment. The pupils thoroughly enjoyed the workshop, one commented "I really enjoy science and I especially like geology. I think I might be a Paleontologist. I loved this and I hope they come again." another said, "It was really fun because I learnt a lot today...I really want to do it again and again." These two workshops were kindly sponsored by the GeoScience Department at ExxonMobil.