Bringing physics to Edinburgh Libraries’ Children and Young People

Edinburgh City Libraries and Information Service, do just that…we provide information and services.  We also highly value our partnerships where we can share resources to the benefit of our customers. One of these partnerships has developed into a gift that keeps on giving. Networking is key to building connections and it was during one of these events we met Dr Jean-Christophe Denis (JC), NBIC and Ogden Outreach Officer at Edinburgh University.

This chance meeting turned into a solid connection where JC works with Edinburgh Libraries to bring the joy of physics to our Children and Young People (CYP), JC introduced us to Dr Kirsty Ross who taught our CYP the magic of science using nanoparticles and now his introduction to Amy Cook bringing stories and fun to STEM.  All of which we can share with our CYP. Below Amy tells us a bit about herself and why she loves reading and physics and how they work together.

“I am a 4th year Astrophysics student at the University of Edinburgh and have always been fascinated by space. However, if I hadn’t chosen to study Astrophysics at university I would have chosen English. It was up there with Physics as one of my favourite subjects but I decided that I didn’t want to study it as I wanted to make sure that reading and writing always remained an enjoyable and relaxing activity for me. I have always loved reading and almost always have a book on the go – and have done from a young age. I have always enjoyed reading books in the fantasy genre – I still have all my copies of the Harry Potter series that have been very well thumbed! I still really enjoy any good fantasy or science fiction series. Some favourites of mine have got to be The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini (I liked this so much I wrote my English A-Level coursework on it!), the Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers and The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit books – these last books are definitely for the more ambitious reader though. Incidentally, these are all available in the library catalogue if anyone wants to give them a read!

I am naturally curious, which lends itself to being a scientist very well, but is also very beneficial for those who love to read, write and generally be creative. Being creative is definitely an aspect of science that isn’t very well known but it’s very important! I chose to use creative writing as a key part of the development of this project as I myself am a keen writer. I used to do a lot of writing when I was in school, but since coming to university it has fallen by the wayside as I’ve been preoccupied with university work (which rarely includes writing creatively). In order to “flex my creative muscles”, I decided that creating a project joining physics and storytelling was the way I would feel really passionate about what I was creating and, most importantly, I would enjoy doing it!

It was easy to decide on doing a space related story as space is the thing I love to talk about the most in physics. It was hard to decide what space topic to focus on but during my research I found out about an influential astronomer from the 1700s, Caroline Herschel, who overcame many challenges in order to discover several comets and become the first professional female astronomer. As a female student studying in this field, I found her story inspiring and decided that this topic was perfect. Forces was a little more tricky to decide on, but Isaac Newton is arguably one of the most important figures in the history of physics as his discoveries led to what is now known as Classical (or Newtonian) Physics. Forces and Newton’s laws of motion are at the heart of physics today, so why not implement them into a story?

I really hope that you enjoy my stories and that you can participate in the follow up activities and really get the most out of them. Reading and writing is something that everyone deserves to enjoy as it’s the most wonderful form of escapism – and if it teaches you physics at the same time? Well, that’s a bonus!”

Here are the links to Amy’s stories and activities:
Forces Fiona and the Laws of Motion story

Forces Fiona and the Laws of Motion activities

Spaceman Sam Story

Spaceman Sam and the Solar System activities

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.