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Nine students travelled to the Royal Society in London on Thursday 23 February in order to present the findings of a six-month long project into cosmic rays, high-energy radiation from space that collide with the Earth’s atmosphere and can be detected at ground level. 

Six Year 11 students presented a five minute presentation before all students engaged with scientists, MPs and fellow pupils from other schools as part of interactive discussion sessions.
Marling School had previously received a Royal Society Partnership Grant and funding from the Severn Glocon Group to build and install a Cosmic Ray Detector (which was accomplished by Sixth Form students) and then carry out practical research into multiple aspects of cosmic rays, working with the University of Birmingham and retired physicist Dr Michael McEllin.
At the start of the project, led by physics teacher Mr Steve Berry, the students travelled to the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire to gain a greater understanding of cosmic rays. They thoroughly enjoyed this trip, including the tour of the ISIS particle accelerator.
The students formed two teams, each investigating a different area of cosmic ray science. One team looked into the relationship between cosmic rays and space weather. They found that as solar weather activity increases, the number of cosmic rays hitting Earth decreases. The other team investigated the possible sources of cosmic rays in space and their research is ongoing.
As part of the project, a low-cost radiation and cosmic ray detector was also built using Raspberry Pi's, a type of popular inexpensive computer, and a website created, which is accessible at
Before presenting their findings to the Royal Society, the students met its president, Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, as well as Neil Carmichael MP, the chairman of the Education Select Committee and MP for Stroud.
After presenting, the students began to think about possible future scientific projects and continuation of cosmic ray research; all students would like to perform further validation of their research on the project. The students have gained valuable experience in working in teams on scientific projects and have greatly enjoyed it.
The students who took part in the project were Laurence Dhonau, Billy Harding, Tim Lewis, Jack Harrison, Benjamin Robinson, Alex Walker, William Taylor, Thomas Green, Christopher Digby and George Barber, who was unable to attend the Royal Society presentation.
Laurence Dhonau

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