12 Jun 17

East Lothian pupils give science a sporting chance

An East Lothian school has had a visit from an Olympic athlete for a physics lesson with a difference. 

Scotland’s women’s curling captain, Eve Muirhead, visited Ross High in Tranent (7 June) as part of EDF Energy’s education outreach work to talk to them about the links between sport and science. 

After hearing about her career in curling and the ways that science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) are used in her sport the pupils took part in a hands-on experiment to explore friction, momentum and distance. 

The pupils had to build a hovercraft from a balloon, a CD and some blue-tac and try to land it on a target, much like the ones 2014 Winter Olympics bronze medallist and her team aim for on the curling rink. 

A study commissioned earlier this year by EDF Energy, which operates Torness power station, found that there will be 142,000 new jobs in science, research, engineering and technology between now to 2023 but current figures show there will be a shortfall in the number of graduates and apprentices available to fill these roles. For example there will be a 40% shortfall in engineering. 

Eve Muirhead said: “It was great to be able to talk to the pupils about my experiences and explain to them how science touches almost every part of my sport. Curlers use geometry and physics every time we take to the ice. We rely on doctors, physiotherapists, sports scientists and nutritionists to keep us fit for competition and design engineers ensure we have the right kit and equipment that will help us perform at our best”.   

Torness Station Director, Paul Winkle, said: “We are delighted to be working with Eve Muirhead to help children make the connections between STEM and sport and consider the variety of careers that are available to them by studying STEM subjects at school. EDF Energy is investing in the next generation of Scottish minds because we know that if Scotland is to address the energy challenges of the future it needs to have a workforce with strong skills in STEM.”

Ross High Maths teacher, Eddie White, said: “The pupils were very much engaged with the process and really seemed to like the fact that science and sport are so seamlessly integrated at this level. We tell them that all the time, but a current highly successful sportswoman is always going to be believed more.”

Third year pupil and member of the school hockey team, Erin Hill, said: “For someone who is so involved in sport and competes at a high standard, it was so interesting for me and the rest of my classmates to see how much science there really is behind sport.

Notes to editors

  1. EDF Energy is Scotland’s largest producer of low-carbon electricity, operating Hunterston B in North Ayrshire, Torness in East Lothian and, through our joint venture EDF Energy Renewables, seven windfarms across Scotland. Together these assets generate enough electricity to power almost 4 million homes and employ more than 1,300 people in Scotland. The company supplies 98 per cent of public sector bodies in Scotland after being awarded the country’s largest electricity supply contract by annual volume from April 2013. EDF Energy has also more than 200,000 customer accounts in Scotland and has launched its own innovation accelerator, Blue Lab, which focuses on making customers’ lives easier. 

EDF Energy in Scotland

In Scotland EDF Energy operates Hunterston B in North Ayrshire and Torness in East Lothian which employ over 1,000 staff and around 500 contracting partners across the two power stations. EDF Energy employs a further 200 office based staff in East Kilbride.  As well as generating enough power to serve some 4 million homes the company also provides gas and electricity to over 80,000 Scottish customers with around half of those opting for one of the company’s Blue+ products which are backed by low-carbon generation. We operate two windfarms in the Scottish Borders and make sure we buy enough electricity generated from a low-carbon nuclear source to match every unit of electricity we estimate our Blue customers use. EDF Energy is proud to power up some of the largest organisations in the UK, including supplying almost all public sector bodies in Scotland with after being awarded Scotland’s largest electricity supply contract by annual volume from April 2013. Following a landmark agreement with Network Rail the company also provides nuclear-backed Blue energy to power up the UKs electric rail network, covering most of the south east of England and the main lines from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as the Merseyrail network around Liverpool and the Glasgow suburban network.