Project FAB, which stands for Ferociously Awesome Balloons (the F previously stood for something else), is a student run outreach program. In the summer of 2015, Fraser Baird decided that he wanted to introduce more focus on STEM subjects into primary schools by launching high altitude balloons which would conduct multiple experiments over various heights. This was the beginning of an arduous process. Building an outreach program requires permission, funding, equipment and, most importantly, people who are interested in seeing your project succeed.
One year on, Project FAB consists of a team of 16 undergraduate science students at Glasgow University and a group of senior Physics students at Larbert High School ready to teach primary school children about the basics of physics using lesson plans created by our team. The project has obtained funding from the STFC (Science and Technology Facilities Council), Helia Photonics Ltd, and is supported by the School of Physics and Astronomy at Glasgow University.
We are currently in the process of building the payload for the balloons: one balloon will measure the concentration of CO2, O3 and CH4; a second balloon will carry out experiments on gravity, showing objects of different mass falling at the same rate; another will measure the change in the amount of radiation due to cosmic rays with altitude; a fourth balloon will monitor how the pressure and temperature of the atmosphere changes with altitude. And, of course, each balloon will be fitted with cameras to take those all-important photos of Earth from above.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Project FAB then check out our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We also have more information about our team, experiments and education plans on our website. We hope to launch the balloons as part of National Science Week in March, look out for the results and images through our social media outlets!
Link to website: www.project-fab.science.
[Rhiannon Beaton – Deputy Project Leader]