Two UCLan students took their research to Parliament last week for the finals of the STEM for BRITAIN awards

Two PhD astrophysics students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) showcased their research to politicians in Parliament last week, as they took part in the finals of a national STEM competition.

By Aimee Seddon
Tuesday, 15th March 2022, 3:45 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th March 2022, 1:47 pm

Daniel Gass and Daniel Johnson had reached the national STEM for Britain finals, which is run by the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee in collaboration with a number of distinguished scientific, learned and professional organisations.

The annual event celebrates the best of UK scientific research being carried out by early career researchers and is in the only national competition of its kind.

Both students were shortlisted from hundreds of applicants to appear in Parliament, and competed in the physics section of the event, which was sponsored and supported by the Institute of Physics.

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UCLan PhD students Daniel Gass (left) and Daniel Johnson attended the STEM for Britain finals, where they met the Rt Hon Sir Lindsay Hoyle, MP for Chorley, Speaker of the House of Commons and UCLan Honorary Fellow.

Speaking beforehand, Daniel Johnson, who researches how extreme space weather events are powered, said: “The STEM for Britain event is a unique opportunity to present the science I have worked on during my PhD studies to the policy makers who are responsible for planning our national strategies for mitigating the impact of space weather. I aim to gain an insight into the link between science and politics from this event and hope this is the first instance of an ongoing relationship my work has with its underlying political foundations.”

Daniel Gass, whose research analyses the sun’s coronal structure across the solar cycle to aid space weather prediction, added: "I am honoured to be selected as a physics finalist and share the talent and the quality of research taking place at UCLan.

“The University’s Jeremiah Horrocks Institute has been a fantastic place to be a researcher in solar astrophysics and I'd like to thank my supervisor Professor Robert Walsh, the head of the institute Professor Derek Ward Thompson, as well as all the other students and staff who have helped me present my research to MPs and industry professionals in the House of Commons."

The Rt Hon Sir Lindsay Hoyle, MP for Chorley, Speaker of the House of Commons and UCLan Honorary Fellow congratulated the students at the event.

Left to right: Daniel Johnson, The Lord Khan of Burnley and Daniel Gass.

He said: “I am delighted to have met these talented young researchers and learn more about their work. The quality of research on display was outstanding and it’s exciting to see progress and innovation being made across the variety of STEM subjects.”

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