University gives pupils first-hand experience of nanotechnology

Swansea University Medical School student helping to explain nanotechnology to pupils from across Neath Port Talbot at the NanoBach event.

Pupils have been given an unique opportunity to find out more about nanotechnology at a special Swansea University workshop aimed at inspiring scientists of the future.

NanoBach brought Year 7 & 8 pupils from across Neath Port Talbot together with students who were able to demonstrate what nanotechnology is and how it can be applied on a wider scale in everyday life.

Nanoscience is the study of extremely small things and can be used across all the other science fields, such as chemistry, biology, physics, materials science, and engineering. This event aimed to give children a better understanding and spark an interest in nanotechnology. 

The event was developed by Professor Steve Conlan, head of enterprise and innovation at Swansea University Medical School, who had seen the positive impact of a similar schools event held as part of Italian conference NanoGaliato has attended over the years. 

Hosted at Tata Europe’s Academy Building in Port Talbot, the day saw nanomedicine students and researchers from the University helping the pupils as they tried out a variety of fun experiments and activities. 

Year 8 pupil Mindie James, from Ysgol Bro Dur, said:  I have learned so much. I knew nothing about nanotechnology before today and now I know loads. I really enjoyed making UV bracelets and nanoparticles, it was awesome!” 

Professor Conlan said: “NanoBach aims to inspire Wales’s next generation of nanoscientists. It explored the nanomedicine, nanoenergy and nanoenvironment, which cover many aspects of the future of science and medicine. 

"Nanobach is the Welsh edition of the Academia di Gagaliato Globale’s programme, and is inspired by Nanopicolla which is hosted annually in Calabria and we were excited to be the first country to host an Academia event outside Italy.”

At the end of the event the youngsters were able to show off what they had learned to their families and members of the community including the Mayor and Mayoress of Neath Port Talbot Scott and Jemma Jones. 

Councillor Jones said: This was a fine example of one of largest employers, Tata Steel, working with one of our local universities to bring schools together for such a fun, educational event. We are very grateful to the Medical School for showcasing the skills needed for the workforces of the future here in Neath Port Talbot.” 

Head of science at Ysgol Ystalyfera Richard Morgan added: “There were so many hands-on activities for the pupils, they were very engaged. This was an excellent learning opportunity outside of the classroom which gave them a great insight into possible careers and future study options.” 

Professor Conlan said the event had been such a success that plans were already under way for next year’s NanoBach.

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