Science making life better. What a powerful line, right? For me, it is just the best definition there is to show the influence science has on our everyday lives. Science does indeed make life better!
My name is Andy, I am 17 years old, and all I can say is, I have been very very lucky enough to have participated in the 59th LIYSF forum representing Argentina!
It all began three years ago... My school had announced the creation of a new prize to be known as the "Scientific Spirit Award", given to the Year 12 student who demonstrated passion in the sciences! And the student awarded the prize would win an amazing trip to LIYSF. I thought, I love science, I love airplanes, Buenos Aires is quite far away from London, I have not been to London, their fish and chips look great, so it seemed like the right fit! I knew I wanted to be part of it, to get to speak to people from all parts of the world, and see how others embraced science. But I also knew that I should not be doing science just to win a prize, but to have fun, experiment, try new things, learn new theories, discover new horizons, and of course ask more questions and find creative answers. So that was the path I decided to take in the last three years...
And after three years of fun with superconductors, liquid nitrogen, candy rockets, second degree burns in my arm and face, magnetizing machines, hall effect, and a 154 long essay about a 12000 people space settlement, among other experiments, I was extremely happy when the head science teacher announced I was the 2017 winner! So off I went to London!
London is without doubt one of the nicest cities in the world, and has some great food (yes, I tried the fish and chips, and they were just as delicious as they looked in the KFC picture!).
And even better was LIYSF! No words are enough for me to express how wonderful of a time I spent in my two weeks journey! I would simply say that it exceeded all my expectations, and certainly convinced me more about the career I would be pursuing in college: aerospace engineering!
From amazing visits to the Oxford physics department to the Stonehenge (one of the most remarkable places I have ever seen) to the Airbus factory (a place I have been longing to go since I was born, which totally blew my mind), each and every thing we made in the forum was full of science and fun.
The lectures were superb, from which I would point out the ones about Virgin Galactic, the Higgs Boson, the Cyber security, the Hydrogen fuel cells, as well as the forensic studies with the bones of Richard the Third!
But my personal favourite activity was the Specialist Lecture Day, where we were given (in group 4) a lecture about the future of the Lithium battery, and we presented at the end of the day all what we had learned, making a small act in a Pokemon GO format! It was insane to have work and spoken with people from cultures totally different from mine, laughing and having fun together, while doing what we loved the most: science!
I was also very lucky to participate in the Science Bazaar, a type of science fair, where I presented my space settlement project, and got to receive feedback from an amazing audience. And even more incredible was the fact that I had been chosen to present in front of the whole forum at the RGS in a FameLab format (a type of presentation where we were given 3 minutes to explain our project) the day afterwards, which was a terrific experience.
Not coincidently, "Science making life better" was this year's LIYSF theme, and in each and every lecture, our speakers tried to convey this idea. Personally, this is what I liked the most about the Forum, because I felt like I was not alone when believing science could actually be used to make a change in our world. Again, I discovered an even greater passion for science, not only in my aerospace field, but also in other areas which are equally interesting. And I proudly realised that science makes our lives more exciting and more fun! Using the scientific method to satiate our curiosity.
All in all, I got to experience a new country, eat delicious food, meet lots of different people, visit fabulous establishments, and most importantly, experiment! And gratefully, I am left convinced that "there is a great big beautiful tomorrow, just a dream away".