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Sienna sees science in action


Spending a day with a team of researchers at work in a laboratory has provided plenty of inspiration for budding scientist Sienna Hill.

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As winner of the inaugural Tall Poppy prize at last year’s Oliphant Science Awards, Sienna was given the opportunity to have Professor Justin Chalker as her science mentor this year. Professor Chalker, the 2020 winner of the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science, is the research leader for the Molecular Science and Technology division at Flinders University.

On March 17 the Year 10 student at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College spent the day with Professor Chalker and his team learning about their different areas of research and the projects they are working on.

“I was in awe of the researchers’ level of expertise and knowledge, along with the expensive and complex equipment that they use for their research,” Sienna said.

“I found this visit to be an extraordinary experience and it has sparked some ideas for my 2022 Oliphant Science Awards entry.”

Sienna said she was able to see some “fascinating” equipment in use in the laboratory, including a scanning electron microscope, an energy dispersive x-ray spectroscope, a simultaneous thermal analysis machine and even a nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy machine.

“It was a surreal experience being in a research lab, surrounding by exciting experiments and such knowledgeable scientists,” she added.

“I loved the university atmosphere and overall it was a very inspiring, eye-opening experience!”


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