Young scientists off to London

Fundraising to attend the London International Youth Science Forum are Roncalli College pupils ...
Fundraising to attend the London International Youth Science Forum are Roncalli College pupils (from left) Annie Henderson, Tobias Overbeeke, Maximilian Hunt and Lily Holm, 17. PHOTO: CONNOR HALEY
It is up and atom to London for a group of young Timaru scientists as they fundraise to attend the 65th London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF).

Among the 500 16- to 21-year-olds from 70 different countries attending are Roncalli College pupils Tobias Overbeeke, 17, Lily Holm, 17, Maximilian (Max) Hunt, 18 and Annie Henderson, 17.

Only 20 pupils from New Zealand were accepted to take part in the forum, which begins on July 24.

The Roncalli pupils will each need to raise about $10,000 to attend the event, for which they will spend two weeks at London’s Imperial College.

They will have the opportunity to visit some of the top UK research centres as well as Oxford and Cambridge Universities. They will also hear from some of the world’s top scientists and Nobel Prize winners.

Lily, who attended the Rotary National Science and Technology forum earlier this year, said an adviser there had suggested she apply for the LIYSF.

"She had attended it [LIYSF] last year, so she talked me into applying.

"We have to put down a teacher as a reference so I used Mrs Herbert, who is our head of science, and when I got accepted she shared that with the class and these guys jumped on."

Attending the LIYSF was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, she said.

"I’m really looking forward to meeting new people and embracing a lot of different cultures because I feel like in order to be in science you need to look at the people you are affecting."

Max, who is eyeing a mechatronics and industrial product design course at the University of Canterbury next year, said he was looking forward to using the forum to see where a career in science could take him.

"At school you’re told you can be teacher or a doctor or scientist, whereas here it will really show off all the niche branches you can go into.

"It will be quite cool to see some of the places my potential degree could take me after university."

The pupils will spend two weeks at Imperial College London and hear from Nobel Prize winners and...
The pupils will spend two weeks at Imperial College London and hear from Nobel Prize winners and some of the world’s top scientists. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Annie said she was looking forward to getting out of New Zealand for the first time.

"I just got my passport, which was really exciting, so I’m really looking forward to being in a different place, in a different culture and just getting some new experiences."

Her goal was to get a degree in engineering and then eventually move into humanitarian work, she said.

"I’ve always loved maths and had that logical part to me but I’m really interested in the combination of the humanities and STEM sciences and the intersection between them."

Tobias — much like Lily — is interested in the cultural side of the forum.

"I want to get to meet all these like-minded people from a range of cultures and backgrounds and see what we need to collaborate on as a human race," he said.

He was planning on going into mechanical and aerospace engineering.

"My uncle was involved in motorsport in Australia. I went to the factory there and saw all these massive cars and wondered how they worked.

"Now I want to learn about the physics behind them — why these cars and the planes at airports have these massive wings on them and why do they actually work."

The four decided they would make things easier and team up to fundraise together and have already been hard at work on several different fundraisers.

They have a raffle going for a trailer load of blue gum firewood and have been selling large quantities of potatoes.

Lily said they had been going out every other night to dig them.

"We’ve sold literal tonnes of them at this point. It’s really brought us together — we have very much bonded over potatoes."

The pupils were also planning on working with South Canterbury based company The Good Oil to sell rapeseed and sunflower cooking oil, she said.

A Sail and Anchor quiz night was also scheduled for June 26.

Anyone wanting more information on the fundraisers can email the pupils at