Anwyn Woodyatt has no qualms in admitting she’s a “science geek.”
It’s a tag that this Kwalikum Secondary School graduate is proud of, as she is genuinely very passionate about science, especially in the field of physics.
This summer break the 18-year-old sacrificed two weeks of her time to take part in a challenging program called the International Summer School for Young Physicists. It’s a two-week invaluable experience where 40 of the world’s brightest high school students were invited to delve into some of the coolest, most complex physics that are happening today.
The program is organized by the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics in Toronto. Students are required to apply to attend the study that focuses on theoretical physics. Woodyatt decided to apply for it after she graduated from KSS. She ended up being one of the 40 successful applicants.
“Physics has been a huge interest of mine in the last three years,” said Woodyatt. “I did not know that the Perimeter Institute existed until my mom told me about the program. As soon as I heard about it, it was exactly what I wanted to do this summer. It was very exciting when I got accepted.”
Woodyatt got the opportunity to expand her knowledge about a variety ot topics that included special relativity, quantum mechanics, general relativity, black holes and many more. Being exposed to keynote lecturers from around the world that included Perimeter director Neil Turok, one of the world’s top cosmologists and a friend of well-known cosmologist Stephen Hawking, has opened her mind about the wonderful world of physics.
One of the many trips Woodyatt considers to be a highlight of her trip was SNOLAB, an underground science laboratory specializing in neutrino and dark matter physics. It is located two kilometres below the surface in the Vale Creighton Mine near Sudbury, Ont.
“That was a real eye-opener for me,” said Woodyatt. “It was incredible.”
Another place that impressed her was the Institute for Quantum Computing, a scientific research institute at the University of Waterloo where the research conducted there focuses on harnessing the quantum laws of nature in order to develop powerful new technologies and drive future economies.
Having met many researchers was also memorable for Woodyatt, who was able to get some of them to clear her confusion on certain topics and studies.
Woodyatt indicated she also loved the international connection she has established with the many participants in the program that came from all over the world.
“I know one day I will be working with them so that was good,” said Woodyatt.
Woodyatt plans to eventually pursue a course in astrophysics particularly in the field of cosmology, similar to the work being done by Hawking. But she will not be returning to school just yet.
She does have plans to apply to Oxford, which she says, “is the dream.”
For now, Woodyatt wants to pursue her passion on environmental sustainability.
“I plan to speak to town council to start action on that,” said Woodyatt. “I want to get more people involved and concerned about the environment in Qualicum Beach. That’s something I really want to do before I pursue my career in physics.”