Damien English TD and Ernest Walton’s Daughter Launch Trinity Walton Club

Posted on: 29 May 2015

Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD, and Marion Woods, daughter of Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Ernest Walton, officially launched the Trinity Walton Club on Saturday May 30th.

The 60 secondary school students who completed the pilot year of the Club showcased their STEM projects at the special event.

Damien English, TD, said: “I commend Trinity and the team for this innovative and exciting initiative dedicated to supporting second level students in their pursuit of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Today more than ever, STEM competencies are in high demand and it is important to provide as many opportunities for young people to engage and enhance their skills in these areas.”

The Trinity Walton Club offers secondary school students the unique opportunity to express, shape and grow their interest in STEM. Commencing in October, 2014, the club ran its pilot programme, which was “challenging but fun,” according to one of its students.

The overarching goal of the Club is to complement the science and mathematics education the students receive at secondary school, while supporting them to confidently take ownership of their STEM learning. The Club has been built on the foundation of a collaboration between the schools of physics, education and mathematics at Trinity.

Building on the successful pilot, the unique Club was launched at a special STEM project showcase, where the students – appropriately termed ‘alphas’ after Walton observed alpha particles in his Nobel Prize winning experiments – demonstrated some of their new-found knowledge and skills.  

Director of the Trinity Walton Club, and Assistant Professor in the School of Physics at Trinity, Arlene O’Neill, said: “These young STEM pioneers committed their Saturday afternoons, over the past nine months, to broadening and deepening their STEM knowledge and skills. We were here to support and encourage them as they made this journey, and now it is time to commend them.”

Each Saturday, Trinity’s open learning spaces and STEM labs come alive with 14-year-olds eager to learn more about STEM. These students enjoy the unique opportunity to see what goes on in Trinity’s research facilities, work alongside PhD students, and engage with Trinity academics and invited guests.

The TWC was named in honour of Ernest Walton, Ireland and Trinity’s only Nobel Prize winner for science, for his work in splitting the atom.

His daughter, Marion Woods, said:  “This is such a lovely way to pay homage to my father’s achievements and boost his legacy to science. I hope current and future alphas will continue to benefit from the Trinity Walton Club, which is already inspiring and educating the next generation of scientists.”

Media Coverage:

RTE Radio One, Morning Ireland, Friday May 29th

Media Contact:

Thomas Deane, Media Relations Officer | deaneth@tcd.ie | +353 1 896 4685