Sidmouth student Charles, 18, has paper published in scientific journal
Charles Powell has been a member of Sidmouth’s Norman Lockyer Observatory since he was nine
An 18-year-old who analysed data from the Norman Lockyer Observatory has had a paper published in a prestigious scientific journal.
Charles Powell left Sidmouth College to complete his A-levels at Exeter Mathematics School, where students complete projects designed to enable them to flourish at university.
He chose radio meteor detection for his report and wrote a computer programme to analyse the data, and he has two further papers in the works.
“I was drawn to the observatory’s technology centre activities as they take place 24 hours a day and contribute heavily to citizen science,” said Primley Road resident Charles, who has been interviewed for a place at the University of Cambridge.
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“I was particularly interested in the radar meteor detection system and asked if I could use the centre’s data as a basis for my project work.”
Having been a member of the observatory since he was nine, Charles excelled in telescope astronomy and then he extended his interest into radio astronomy at the technology centre.
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Centre spokesman Iain Grant said: “Charles had shown great interest in the radio astronomy work carried out at the observatory for a number of years and assisted us greatly as a presenter on public open days.
“We had eight years of data which needed scientific analysis and when we found out Charles would actually be writing a computer program to specifically analyse that data we jumped at the chance.
“What he has come up with in his scientific paper is an improved model and analysis of the number of meteors detected throughout each day.
“He also frightens us at times when he talks about quantum mechanics – that’s the science of the very small!”
Charles’s scientific paper has been peer-reviewed in WGN, the Journal of the International Meteor Organisation.
He has written two further papers, one under review at Astronomy and Computing and another in WGN once again.
Charles has recently been elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society after being nominated by the chairman of Norman Lockyer Observatory, David Strange.
Visit http://cwp.io/ to read Charles’s report.