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International opportunities for maths students - Lisa Stones

Lisa Stones

Lisa visited the South African Astronomical Observatory in the summer following her second year of her Mathematics degree. The trip was funded by the University and allowed Lisa to travel to a part of the world she wouldn’t otherwise have been able to visit. She described the experience as a ‘wonderful opportunity’.

Lisa visited the observatory as part of a team of three students and two UCLan staff members. The team were able to use the telescopes at the observatory every night for a week in order to collect and analyse data on a range of stars. For Lisa, the most exciting part of the trip was the long and physically challenging 13 hour night shifts.

She said: “To be able to see the night sky without any light pollution made all the hard work worth it. It was possible to see millions of stars, the Milky Way and even other galaxies! Working as a team, we took it in turn to operate the equipment whilst others took breaks.”

Whilst in South Africa, Lisa also enjoyed an eye-opening visit to a local school and coordinated experiments with the children.

The trip also enabled Lisa to do some sightseeing and she visited numerous landmarks around Cape Town, such as Table Mountain, Robben Island and Kirstenbosch Gardens.

Lisa thoroughly enjoyed the entire trip and was able to use the data she collected in her third year final project, whilst also maintaining a close friendship with the rest of the team.