Forums where passion for science is shared

FUN TIME: Future scientists Steven Robbie, 18, of James Hargest College, and Rachel Taylor, 17, of Menzies College.
FUN TIME: Future scientists Steven Robbie, 18, of James Hargest College, and Rachel Taylor, 17, of Menzies College.

Explosions are always fun but science camps and forums ignite more than just chemicals, two Southland future scientists say.

For Steven Robbie, 18, and Rachel Taylor, 17, the bigger bang comes from the sparking of ideas and friendships.

Mr Robbie, a former James Hargest College student, who is preparing to study surveying at Otago University this year, and Miss Taylor, a former Menzies College student who plans to study veterinary science at Massey University, were selected last year by the Royal Society of New Zealand to attend the New Zealand International Science Festival in Dunedin.

They also attended the Rotary National Science and Technology Forum.

Both said students interested in science should take part in similar science forums.

"There's a lot of these science forums around for students so if you enjoy science they're out there for you to enjoy, you just have to find them," Mr Robbie said.

Miss Taylor, who also attended the Deep Thought Extension Programme For Year 10 and 11 Students run by the New Zealand Marine Studies Centre at Portobello, said she had applied to all the camps and forums she had heard about through the programme and others should give them a try.

"If you've got just a small inkling into the science field, then you should look it up. Go for it," she said.

A logical thinker who also enjoyed being hands-on, Mr Robbie said science had appealed to him for as long as he could remember, and the forums were a fun time to spend with people who shared the same interest.

"You go up there for a week and then by the end of it you're really, really good friends," he said.

Miss Taylor's interest developed around year 9 and had led her to explore several different areas including marine science and dentistry.

New Zealand was becoming more technological each year but its progress would not continue without future scientists coming through to keep the country running, she said.

"They need as many new scientists as possible to carry on their studies for curing cancer [and] finding new economic things, like economic fuels and economic travelling."

The Southland Times