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In December 2015, the Arts, Humanities & Society Working Group of the Young Academy of Scotland was awarded funding to deliver a project tackling one of the key global issues, not just of our time, but of all history – the movement of peoples fleeing war, persecution, famine and other dangers.

This is a huge global issue, with social, political, economic and cultural ramifications, but the group wanted to make whatever contribution it could, however small. Inspired by the recent arrival of a small group of Syrian refugees in Scotland, the group thought about how they, and other refugees, might best be supported into their new lives in this country. As arts, humanities and social science scholars we were aware of the long history of refugees in Scotland, and so the project developed video exploring the ‘Silent History’ of refugees in Scotland, with an accompanying pack of school resources, aimed at 8-11+ year olds.

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YAS Member to give schools' talk on left-handedness at Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition

On 7 and 8 July, YAS member Dr Silvia Paracchini will give a schools-only interactive talk at the Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition.  Her talk will address what determines hand preference, exploring some of the many traits that throughout history have been associated with being left handed.  Dr Paracchini will separate myths from facts about handedness, and explain what is being learned from the most important modern genetic studies.

The talk is 30 minutes long, and is available only to pre-registered school groups.  There are several time slots available between 7 and 8 July.  For more information and to register a group, please visit the Royal Society website.

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Winners announced in national Rewrite the Headlines competition

The Young Academy of Scotland’s Research the Headlines Working Group has announced the winners of Rewrite the Headlines, its national competition to engage schoolchildren and undergraduate students in critical evaluation of media stories.

The competition, which ran through Autumn 2015, challenged participants to examine the research behind popular news stories.  In addition to encouraging critical evaluation of the news, the programme helped young people better understand what research is, how it gets translated from specialised areas to popular media, and then how they might translate it back.

The winning primary class, from St Roch’s Primary and Hearing Impaired School, Glasgow, turned the recent headline ‘Processed meats do cause cancer – WHO’, into ‘Eating processed meat slightly increases risk of cancer’. The research story was one which had generated a lot of interest and confusion when originally released and the judges were impressed with how the class explained their new headline.

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First Lego League Inspires 1,000 Scottish Children  to Revel in Robotics

Lambda Jam and the RSE Young Academy of Scotland (YAS) have been building on the success of last year’s FIRST LEGO League (FLL) to bring the enjoyment of robotics to 1,000 Scottish schoolchildren.

The young master builders and inventors have been gearing up to put their robots and ideas to the test at tournaments across the country. This is the culmination of months of engineering design, programming, and research, led mainly by teachers with mentoring from professional engineers and university academics.

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Young Academy says #ThankYou #InspiringTeachers

Members of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Young Academy of Scotland (YAS) have just launched a campaign asking everyone in Scotland and across the world to say “Thank You” to inspiring teachers.

At their 2015 Winter Plenary Meeting, YAS members signed a large Christmas card for teachers as well as tweeting out their messages of thanks using the twitter hashtags #thankyou #inspiringteachers.  Their interdisciplinary membership reflected on inspiring teachers from all subject areas.  It is hoped that “thank you” messages on twitter highlighting inspiring teachers will continue from the last week of school term right through to New Year’s Day.

A significant issue for schools is the recruitment of teachers and in particular STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) teachers.  Earlier this year the Education and Lifelong Learning Cabinet Secretary, Angela Constance, started a twitter campaign #inspiringteachers.  This campaign encouraged people to remember and share which teachers inspired them whilst raising the profile of the profession.

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Christian Rutz

Dr Christian Rutz is an Evolutionary Ecologist, with a particular interest in animal tool use and material culture. His current work focuses on the New Caledonian crow, a tropical corvid renowned for its sophisticated tool-related behaviour.

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