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Top marks for Culloden Academy pupil for Covid-19 project


By Ian Duncan

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Donald Campbell.
Donald Campbell.

AFTER his National 5 exams were cancelled due to the coronavirus lockdown, one Culloden Academy pupil used the time constructively by researching whether the lockdown would improve air quality.

Donald Campbell (15), of Balloch, took part in the British Science Association’s Gold level CREST Awards scheme for STEM-based project work.

The project involved more than 130 hours of online research and Donald created his own survey to collect data which was completed by almost 3000 respondents in 73 countries.

He managed to correctly prove his hypothesis, so was rewarded with theGold CREST Award.

He said: “The British Science Association has enabled me to pursue valuable and significant scientific research from home. I cannot recommend them highly enough. There are projects suitable for all age groups and some only take a few hours. My Gold award will certainly add weight to future UCAS applications.”

Donald said he got the idea for his project after he noticed how quiet life had become during lockdown and added: “As we were all in lockdown, I was limited to a research project which was purely internet-based as restrictions prohibited access to lab work or experiments. My chosen research question was perfect for an internet-based investigation as it was highly topical and new facts and figures were emerging daily.”

Donald Campbell, who took part in the British Science Association’s Gold level CREST Awards scheme for STEM-based project work.
Donald Campbell, who took part in the British Science Association’s Gold level CREST Awards scheme for STEM-based project work.

He said he initially felt air quality would have improved due to the reduction in traffic. He said: “I concluded that during the Covid-19 lockdown there has been an improvement to air quality. From the data, it was clear that the Covid-19 lockdown has had a significant effect on this as it has caused humans to change their daily routine and their behaviour.

“As a result of lockdown we have been forced to remain at home and only go out when absolutely necessary. This means that people are learning to work from home and travelling less, leading to less greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing companies and less work-related commuting. This has had a positive effect globally as people report wildlife is entering cities more due to the cleaner atmosphere and quieter streets.”

Donald said he was grateful to everyone who had contributed to his research and he hoped his findings would be useful to analysts in the future. He said: “I sent a copy of my report to the Prime Minister two months ago – sadly, I haven’t even had a response.”

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