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STEM in Song success

Published on 27/09/17

Charlotte Helliar, a student in Year 11 was one of nine finalists in the Stem in Song competition which challenged girls aged 11 to 16 to write song lyrics about science.

Charlotte attended the Stem in Song Prize Evening, held at St Catharine's College on 26 September. Her shortlisted competition entry, a rap entitled: Reflections on Light was praised by the judges as being particularly thoughtful and indicating how science is not always a matter of certainty.

The STEM in Song competition is an initative spearheaded by St Catharine's Fellow and newly appointed Canadian astronaut Dr Jenni Sidey. All shortlisted entries were invited to the Prize Evening to read their lyrics for the judges. 

The evening's entertainment included science experiments, music and poetry, led by the panel of judges: actor Stephen McGann, novelist Sophie Kinsella, medical historian Dr Mary Dobson and physicist Lady Welland. The audience also enjoyed video messages from Dr Jenni Sidey and composer Gwyneth Herbert.

Here is Charlotte's rap:


'Light travels in straight lines'.

You thought that was a fact;

How does it feel 

Now that you know 

It doesn't always do that.


The waves can bend around corners,

Or through different gaps.

This is what happens when light diffracts.


The extent of it relies

On the hole size

In a situation 

Where the rule applies.


Refraction can occur 

When the rays change medium

Such as from water to air; 

Causing a change in direction.

I hope this information

Didn't bypass your detection;

And remember - angle of incidence

Equals angle of reflection.


Gill Dambaza, Director of Science in Senior School commented: "Charlotte did fantastically well to be one of the nine shortlisted finalists. At the prize giving event, her lyrics were praised as being particularly thoughtful and indicating how science is not always a matter of certainty. Charlotte has written poems and raps throughout her time at the Senior School to help her - and her classmates - when revising for tests."