Science school: UWA and Albemarle collaboration to reshape science for South West school kids

Jacinta CantatoreSouth Western Times
Alex Foppoli from the Einstein-First project.
Camera IconAlex Foppoli from the Einstein-First project. Credit: Supplied

A collaboration between the South West’s only lithium refinery and a prestigious WA university is helping reformulate science in the school classroom, with two South West schools already signing up.

Albemarle Lithium has partnered with The University of Western Australia researchers who work with the Gravity Discovery Centre, Ozgrav and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration to create a program to cater for primary and secondary school students.

The Einstein-First project, run by the UWA school of physics, has already signed on two Bunbury schools.

Project coordinator Dr Jyoti Kaur said the program was aimed at getting more students to aspire to diverse science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related careers.

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“Our programs involve active learning with renewable energy and in fact, Einstein’s discoveries were vital to the development of solar panels,” Dr Kaur said.

“Lithium is an important mineral for the transition to a low-carbon economy and the project aims to redesign, evaluate and optimise school science across all educational levels to reflect the modern understanding of space, time, matter and the universe.”

The partnership with Albemarle, launched recently on site at the company’s Kemerton lithium hydroxide processing plant, will see industry working with researchers to directly improve the learning experience of students.

Kemerton site director Daniel O’Shea said Albemarle was excited to be involved in creating what would ultimately be a more engaging learning experience for South West science students from Years 3 to 10.

“Children today are already familiar with the idea of renewable energy,” he said.

“They are less aware that our locally based industry helps to underpin many renewable energy developments like electric vehicles.

“Forging this partnership between researchers and Albemarle will build understanding of what we do and hopefully engage and open minds to future possibilities.”

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