Ken Latham - Chemistry
Newcastle University student Kenneth Latham took part in The Challenge as a high-school student, and says that, for him, "The Science and Engineering Challenge was one of the key defining moments in making the choice to study science."
He is currently enrolled in a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Chemistry. Ken explains, "It involves looking at atoms, molecules and compounds, and the different ways in which they make up the world, while discovering new processes and chemicals for the future."
Ken first got involved with The Challenge when he was in year nine and his Science teacher was recruiting students to join their school's Challenge team. "I had always been interested in science, as science is about exploring the unknown. At that point I was more interested in astronomy than chemistry," he remembers, "but never really thought that I could actually be a scientist until after [participating in] The Challenge."
Years later, Ken's experience with The Challenge is still vivid. He adds, "My event was the bridge building, to carry the most weight. I remember building my bridge out of just four pieces of plywood and supporting it with interlaced triangles. "The various engineers and scientists kept coming up to my team and explaining how impressed they were with the design, and [asking] if I had thought of science or engineering as a future career path. It was from these comments that I thought of science as possibility for the future."
Although he had an interest in science before The Challenge, the experience still changed Ken, as he notes, "The Challenge really gave me the confidence that science and engineering was something I was good at."
Finishing his undergraduate degree at the end of this year, Ken hopes to continue studying for his PhD. "From that I plan to go into research in Inorganic Chemistry, which could see me working on anything from solar cell design to new paints, batteries or fuels."