Two Offaly students to star in national science book series

Justin Kelly

Reporter:

Justin Kelly

Email:

news@offalyexpress.ie

Two Tullamore students are set to play a starring role in a new national series of science books which they have had a huge hand in designing.

Angie Sewell (9) and Andy Lowbridge (13) are two of the nine members of Ireland’s most influential young people’s group, The Wonder Panel, who have been working on the four Science Apprentice books for the past five months.

They were recruited through a national competition by University College Dublin which was looking for what it terms ‘stretchy thinkers’ – children full of wonder who enjoy figuring things out.

The group of primary school age advisors have worked with the Science Apprentice team to form the questions and answers that make the books invaluable to Irish schoolchildren – and they even get to appear in the books themselves.

“I love science and always have. I love doing experiments, and how they can lead to breakthroughs that have helped people improve our lives and become more modern,” said Ard Scoil Chiarain student Andy.

“Without science, we wouldn’t have a world as good as it is today.

“Our main role in the project was listening and giving our ideas. My favourite book to work on was How It’s Made as it deals with computers and things that interest me in that area. I’d love to be a physicist when I’m an adult.”

St Philomena’s National School student Angie finds science fascinating and loved working on the books.

“You can learn a lot from it and if you study it, then maybe you could stop something serious happening,” she said.

“Maybe you could cure a disease or invent something that could be really important.

“I worked on the Illusion book, which focuses on optical illusions as well as other kinds of illusions that can trick your brain and your eyes.

“I learned that we actually see upside down through our eyes but our brains turn the image the right way up again.”

Angie was particularly interested in the augmented reality aspects of the project.

“It’s amazing to see pictures and diagrams come alive through a smartphone camera. Amazing!” she said of the Augmented Reality elements that have been created by the team at the Virtual Reality Lab in University College Dublin.

The Science Apprentice books will encourage children and adults alike to explore the science, technology, engineering and mathematics of the world around us.

The books Superbodies, Up In The Air, Illusion and How It’s Made are produced by University College Dublin and partners and supported by the Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The books all contain Augmented Reality elements that have been created by the team at the Virtual Reality Lab in University College Dublin.

The Science Apprentice books are available to order for schools and are free to collect with the Irish Independent in SuperValu stores every Saturday in November.