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Exeter Women in Physics Network Science Essay Competition 2023

Welcome to the Exeter Women in Physics Network Science Essay Competition 2023!

The Exeter Women in Physics network is delighted to be welcoming entries to our first ever essay competition to encourage more women to learn about and be involved in physics.

The competition is open to all girls in UK sixth form schools or colleges aged 16-18. We encourage entries from students keen to showcase curiosity, science knowledge and writing skills. This competition gives you the opportunity to explore an interesting topic in depth, which while related to the science you have already learnt at school, may take you beyond the classroom. Contestants can be studying any combination of A levels/subjects. It’ll also help you learn about your areas of interest and be an impressive addition to your CV/university application. The first prize essay will be published on the University of Exeter’s physics website!

How to enter

Please choose and answer one of the following questions. You may include diagrams or referenced images where appropriate.

  1. What can we learn from the data gathered by the James Webb Space Telescope? Areas of discussion could include planets, star formation, galaxies, and history of the Universe.
  2. How can physics help us develop clean and renewable energy?
  3. How can particle physics explain unusual phenomena? Examples could include dark matter and neutrino flavours.
  4. Outline the challenges and potential of developing quantum computing.
  5. How does physics overlap with biology? Areas of discussion could include medicine, nanotechnology and molecular structures.
  6. What are the characteristics of a good scientist? Discuss with examples of women in science (historical and/or contemporary)

Essays have a maximum limit of 2000 words (but do not have to be this long) and should be referenced in a standard format.

The bibliography is excluded from the word limit. We know that not all students will be familiar with referencing, so you might find the following page, which links to a Guide to Harvard Referencing, helpful. Any other standard system of referencing style is also acceptable. All work should be your own, and should not include any work that has been/will be submitted to an exam board.

The deadline for essay submission is 31st July. Please send your essay to (including your full name, school and year group) with the email subject 'Submission for Essay Competition 2023'.


The top three entrants as judged by our panel will be awarded vouchers: 1st place £30, 2nd place £20, 3rd place £10. We aim to decide on a winner by the end of August.

We look forward to reading some interesting science essays!