Space Industry Work Experience at IPAS

Space Industry Work Experience program at IPAS

From 13-15 July, IPAS/OzGrav was delighted to host the 2021 Space Industry Work Experience Program. This is a unique work experience program giving South Australian secondary school students, personal insight into the space industry, an understanding of necessary skills and qualifications, and networking opportunities, to inspire space-focused STEM careers. From a total of 162 applications, all from very high achieving students across both Metro and Rural schools, Tom Clancy, Natalie Hand and Albert Thomson were successfully selected for the 2020/2021 South Australian Space Industry Work Experience Program.

The students were welcomed to the Braggs on Tuesday 13th and spent the first day learning about gravitational wave astrophysics, detector physics and given a hands-on demonstration under the supervision of Dr Huy Cao, Kendall Jenner and Zac Holmes.  

On the second day, the students were given different tasks according to their individual interests. Natalie and Albert worked through a data analysis tutorial to extract the first gravitational wave signal from noise and then made some calculations to estimate the total mass of the system and conclude that the signal came from two black holes colliding. Natalie then investigated how different properties of a binary black hole system affect the gravitational wave signal that we can detect here on Earth. In the laser lab, Bertie learned about the frequency domain and how it applies to laser stabilisation. He then helped in identifying intensity noise introduced by an optoelectronic control system. Meanwhile, in the clean rooms, Tom helped with important preparation and measurements of adaptive mirrors being built for the next upgrade of the LIGO detector.

On their final day, the students were given the opportunity to give feedback and reflect on their achievements during their time at IPAS and OzGrav by each giving a short presentation during the IPAS weekly seminar. The seminar was attended by a variety of IPAS scientific members, the students' parents, and a representative from the Department For Education (Sarah Baker -  Advanced Technology Program Manager). At the end of the seminar, the students were each awarded with an IPAS Certificate of Attendance for successful completion of their work experience with IPAS. After lunch, the students visited Lot 14 where they were given a tour of the Space Discovery Centre. To conclude the day, the students visited the Atom Trap Trace Analysis (ATTA) Lab with Dr Rohan Glover to learn about how cutting-edge quantum physics is helping to answer questions around sustainability and risk to Australia’s groundwater resources.

Special thanks to all IPAS/OzGrav members who assisted with the 2021 South Australian Space Industry Work Experience Program. All the best to the IPAS work experience students. We hope to welcome you back at IPAS and OzGrav in the near future.

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