Prior's Field September 2018

A Giant Leap for Astronomy at Sherborne Girls

Published Thursday 3rd of April 2014 10:33:02 AM

A facility has opened at Sherborne Girls to provide a new stairway to the stars. The School now has an astronomy room just below its small observatory in its former Science building. Transformed from a spider-filled store room, the now warm and comfortable space, with seating for up to 16, will enable every student to use the School�s telescope at least once whilst at School, instead of just the few members of the Astronomy Club as before.

The room has been dedicated to astronomer Mervyn Ellison (1909 � 1963), Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (FRAS) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE). Acclaimed for his work observing and charting solar flares, Mervyn Ellison was Senior Science Master at Sherborne School from 1933-47. During this time he built an observatory in the Headmaster�s garden from where he made many important observations of the sun. His daughter, Dione Ellison (Lady Shaw) a Sherborne Old Girl, has kindly funded the astronomy room development.

Katy Smith, Head of Physics at the School said, �Although just a small step in development terms, this is a giant leap for astronomy at the School. Just a quick look at the moon through a telescope can inspire a life-long fascination with space. There are numerous female astronomers and astrophysicists, such as Maggie Aderin-Pocock, presenter of The Sky at Night, and Helen Sharman, the first British person in space. You never know, this new dimension to School Science might just launch a Sherborne girl on a career in astronomy or astrophysics � a star of the future!�

The opening of the new astronomy room was a fitting end to Science Week which saw a range of events at the School, including a visit by girls to an Astrodome in the School�s Sports Hall. Here they were introduced to the planets and constellations that they can now all view first-hand.

Two years ago the School opened its new state-of-the-art Science Centre. Almost half of the sixth form study at least one science subject and the most popular subject at A Level is Maths.

Photo Caption � Lady Shaw and Physics Teacher at Sherborne Girls, David Buck
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