The Year of Science

Enter Contest

Year of Science steams ahead with energy from space

Posted by on 8 June 2011

VANCOUVER – Scientists at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre demonstrated steam power – in space – today in an experiment suggested by 16-year-old Abigail Sherwood, the sixth (and last) semi - finalist to be selected in the Year of Science “Choose Science, Go Far, Win Big” contest.

Sherwood is a Grade 11 student at Yale Secondary in Abbotsford. In her video entry, she asks, “Can we solve the Earth’s energy problems by using the sun’s energy to produce steam and create usable energy?”

Today’s experiment established that the sun’s energy could produce steam and create usable energy, but one of the challenges – currently being explored by scientists and engineers – is how to get the energy back to Earth.

After the experiment, John van Dongen, MLA for Abbotsford South, presented Sherwood with her $250 science-themed prize package in front of friends and family.

Sherwood’s winning idea makes her eligible for the Year of Science grand prize – a $25,000 scholarship to any B.C. post-secondary institution. The winner will be announced June 15.

Based on the popular TV show, MythBusters, B.C.’s Year of Science video contest asked young people to upload videos of their ideas for science experiments or myths to be tested. All entries were submitted to a Year of Science YouTube channel at:


John van Dongen, MLA for Abbotsford-South –
“We want young people to get excited about science, to seek solutions to the challenges we face, and to consider the many interesting and rewarding jobs they can find in science-related fields.”

Robert Appleton, executive director, H.R. MacMillan Space Centre –
“Abigail’s idea has sparked great discussion about space science between our staff and visitors. The value of programs like Year of Science is that they inspire people of all ages to explore the relevance and importance of science in their everyday lives.”

Abigail Sherwood, sixth semi-finalist in Year of Science contest –
“I chose a question about steam power because every summer I see the Kettle Valley steam engine in the Okanagan and I am always amazed by the power of steam. That got me thinking about other ways steam could be used.”

Quick Facts about the Year of Science:

  • Throughout the 2010-11 school year, the Year of Science has engaged young people in science by showcasing how science works, who scientists are, the kind of work they do and why science matters in our everyday lives.
  • B.C.’s future depends on a new kind of literacy in science, technology, math and engineering.
  • Over the next 10 years, approximately one in every eight job openings will be in a science-related occupation.
  • By encouraging young people of our province to pursue a science education today, they are being prepared for the jobs of tomorrow by ensuring they have the knowledge and skills to build a strong economy and bring about a brighter future for everyone.

View the winning entry under "Results" on the Year of Science YouTube page:

For more information on the Year of Science, go to:


Lauren Mulholland
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation
250 952-0615

Tracy Cromwell
Director of Development and Marketing
H.R. MacMillan Space Centre
604 738-7827 ext. 249

Connect with the Province of B.C. at:

Click here to view the PDF.

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