PUPILS from a number of Darlington schools came together recently for a celebration of celestial science in a lecture at Polam Hall School.

The enthralling ‘Ashes to Dust: a journey through space and time’ lecture delivered by Dr Natalie Starkey, a researcher of science in Planetary and Space Sciences at the Open University and a dedicated ambassador of science.

The event was organised by the Polam Hall Old Scholars Association (PHOSA) which provides funds, equipment, bursaries and awards for Polam Hall School. The lecture was funded by the Sylvia Owen Fund and it is the first time this bursary has been presented.

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The lecture aimed to encourage student involvement in science and highlight the exciting prospects it holds as a future career for students.

Dr Starkey discussed many fascinating aspects of her research, including comets and how they form in our Solar System, as well as how planets like our own came to be.

Sam Bamlet from Polam Hall School said: “It was really fun to be able to get involved, Dr Starkey brought along samples for us to look at and touch, there was even a part of the moon! It was really good being able to see objects from space right in front of us!”

More than 300 key stage 2 and 3 pupils from Longfield Academy, Skerne Park, Darlington School of Mathematics and Science, Corporation Road, Abbey Juniors and Polam Hall attended the event.

Polam Hall School headmaster John Moreland said: “The lecture was brilliant. The students really engaged with everything Natalie was saying. We’re very lucky to have such a well respected scientist come to the school.”

As a member of the BBC Academy’s panel of Women Experts, Natalie frequently discusses her area of expertise on radio and TV, and is a commendable example of women succeeding in science.