Nhà Khoa học Việt Nam ở Anh Quốc Thúc Đẩy Niềm Đam Mê Khoa Học cho Trẻ Em

A London-based science camp for children is being organized by a Vietnamese-born female professor.

Vietnamese scientist in UK Inspires Scientific Passion for Children
Underprivileged children in London are the main beneficiaries of the opportunity to participate in the Science Camp. Photo: Vietnam+

Nguyen Thi Kim Thanh, a Vietnamese professor at University College London (UCL), has been the recipient of many prestigious international awards for her scientific research. She aspires to inspire students, particularly those who are disadvantaged, in London to pursue their passion for scientific study, as reported by VNA.

In 2019, Thanh was bestowed with the esteemed Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Medal by the Commonwealth Academy of Sciences in recognition of her groundbreaking research accomplishments in the field of nanomaterials for biomedicine.

She utilized the prize money to organize a science camp in the Wiltshire region of the United Kingdom, aimed at inspiring high school students in grades 8 through 10 to pursue scientific research.

In April 2023, Professor Nguyen Thi Kim Thanh and her colleagues organized a science camp at PGL Liddington adventure activity centre. Participants of the camp were able to take part in a variety of activities and gain valuable knowledge about the world of science during the event.

Approximately 46 high school students, primarily female, from London who faced difficult situations or belonged to minority communities, participated in the camp.

Vietnamese scientist in UK Inspires Scientific Passion for Children
Students participate in a science game to look for extra-terrestrial intelligence. Source: Vietnam+
Vietnamese scientist in UK Inspires Scientific Passion for Children
Other physical activities attract students to participate. Source: Vietnam+

This event gave students the chance to not only become immersed in science but also to build their autonomy and self-assurance as they collaborate with people from various grades and varied backgrounds.

At Thanh’s science camp, students had the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with advanced nanotechnology, working directly with Thanh and her colleagues to conduct practical and engaging scientific experiments. Through the use of nanotechnology, the campers were able to explore the detection and treatment of diseases such as cancer.

One student was astounded to discover that Professor Thanh could create gold nanoparticles using lemon juice. It was awe-inspiring to witness the solution transform in color and to gain knowledge of how these micro-particles can be utilized in the healthcare field, including testing for conditions like Covid-19.

Martin Dominik, Associate Professor at the University of St Andrews, urged them to contemplate if Earth is truly distinct in the immense cosmos and, ultimately, what it means to be human.

Besides science experiments, students also participate in other engaging science games and activities. It is a game “Messages from afar,” in which students discuss the search for extraterrestrial intelligence and generate a code to transmit messages using colored blocks and then analyze their code structure, comparing students’ codes with a range of available templates, including hieroglyphs, pixelated Latin, Tetris, Morse code, ASCII, and genetic code.

In another engaging activity, the children outlined the wonders of human civilization and wrote a message to any extraterrestrial life they may encounter. The activity was initially created for the UK Academy of Sciences and Commonwealth Summer Science Show 2019, an event that seeks to bring cutting-edge science to the public.

Besides Professor Nguyen Thi Kim Thanh, Dr. Mark Fuller of UCL, who connects the partnership between UCL University and high schools, also participates as an instructor in missile and energy manufacturing activities.

Students also relished the other thrilling physical activities offered by the PGL adventure activity center, such as vertical challenges, rafting, Jacob ladders, rope swings, rock climbing, archery, problem-solving, and a competitive PGL tournament.

Vietnamese scientist in UK Inspires Scientific Passion for Children
Prof. Nguyen Thi Kim Thanh (C) and her colleagues. Photo: VNA

Thanh was delighted to have organized the camp, and declared that she would carry on providing extracurricular activities at UCL for students.

The scientist said she plans to expand collaboration with high schools to boost the number of students studying A-level (advanced) biology, chemistry, and physics by 50% by 2025–2026.

The scientific camp, which is part of ongoing efforts to further incentivize STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education and to motivate the next generation of scientists, was highlighted by Thanh.

Hannah Nguyen