ORBYTS (Original Research by Young Twinkle Students) is an educational programme in which secondary school pupils (16-17 y/o) work on scientific research linked to the Twinkle Space Mission under the tuition of PhD students and other young scientists.
The scheme partners dynamic, passionate science researchers with secondary schools, where, through fortnightly school visits over an academic year, the researcher teaches the students undergraduate-level physics. The goal of every partnership is that school students will have the opportunity to use this new knowledge to contribute towards publishable research. Pupils get hands on experience of what is involved in scientific research and work closely with young scientists. By partnering schools with relatable researchers, the programme aims to not only improve student aspirations and scientific literacy, but also help to address diversity challenges by dispelling harmful stereotypes, challenging any preconceptions about who can become a scientist. The organisers and tutors strongly believe that all school students should have the opportunity to become involved in active scientific research and to be culturally connected to space missions. Previous projects have included calculating molecular transitions with the ExoMol group as these line lists are key for atmospheric retrievals.