At 06.15 am, my alarm clock rang and it was time to hurry to breakfast. After stuffing in all the food in ten minutes we met at the Queens lawn for our departure. As a biologist, I was very excited to visit an oceanography center and learn more about its research and functions. The bus ride took two hours but it was worth it.
The institute was located next to a gigantic pier used to house the Challenger, the institute’s discovery vessel. During our tour, we visited the laboratory where deep earth core samples are archived. The room temperature was set at a chilling six degree Celsius, and our delegation was freezing towards the end of the presentation (we were mostly in short sleeves!). The reason behind such low temperatures is that the cores have to be preserved at the temperatures of the environments they were taken from.
The archive of cores was so cold. It was only 6 degrees Celsius inside, we were wearing short sleeved shirts!
Ocean cores tell us about past environments on earth and are crucial to determine trends of warming and cooling in our atmosphere, as well as underwater disasters such as submarine landslides.
An interesting idea was planted in our heads when we were told of ideas to solve global warming. It is possible to cool the world by shooting reflective panels into space causing less radiation to reach earth.
Another method possible is to fertilise oceans with iron – the limiting factor in phytoplankton growth. This would help phytoplankton take more carbon dioxide from the air more rapidly. These ideas of course require many ethical, political and environmental discussions. But it was really interesting to know scientists are already ahead of us in thinking of solutions to buy us time!
The museum is housing many beautiful exhibits
Today we had our full day visits and I was chosen to go the Jealott Hill's agricultural research center. This was not an option that I had even chosen, so I had no interest whatsoever in attending this trip. Still, I went on and kept an optimistic attitude throughout the trip.
Optimistic or not, though, the truth of the matter was that I was simply not interested in this particular area of science, and hence what they had to show us. The research center was specialised in creating new herbicides, insectides, fertilisers and whatnot, all dedicated to the protection of crops. They also invited a "hardcore" biologist (so labelled for his profound knowledge in everything biology) to talk to us about biodiversity and the effects scientists have to take into account before introducing a new product into the environment. A great part about the trip was the free food provided by the staff there. It was an absolute improvement over our packed lunches.
At night, I watched the critically acclaimed Chicago theatre show. It was my first time watching a theatre show, if you do not count our high school musicals, and I therefore had no idea what to expect. The show was brilliant- not quite the drop dead amazing I wished it would be- but brilliant nevertheless. I was particularly impressed with the choreography and unity of the dancers, and how they elegantly wove the play together. It was a fantastic first time for me. I am looking forward to my second time on August 8.
Photos: Youni Nip and Godwin Law
To read more about the London International Youth Science Forum, visit www.liysf.org.uk. This trip is sponsored by British Council.