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Page last updated at 11:50 GMT, Tuesday, 23 March 2010
Dorchester student wins UK Young Scientist of the Year
Tom is a student at Thomas Hardy school in Dorchester
Tom is a student at Thomas Hardy school in Dorchester

A student from Dorchester has become the UK Young Scientist of the Year with a project designed to measure erosion on the Jurassic Coast.

Tom Hearing, studying A Levels at Thomas Hardye school, said his win is "still sinking in".

Tom carried out research at Monmouth beach at Lyme Regis, to track coastal erosion using special GPS technology.

The aim is that by tracking past erosion, it will be possible to predict where future erosion will be.

Tom said: "I did a baseline study, which is the first part of the process of collecting quantitative data.

"It was the first lot of data that's ever been recorded at Monmouth, and it involves using precision GPS, which was provided by Bournemouth University.

Tom is presented with his award from Business Secretary Lord Mandelson
Tom is presented with his award from Business Secretary Lord Mandelson

"If you think about your car's sat nav, that has an accuracy of plus/minus five metres.

"The technology I used had an accuracy of one centremetre."

Knee deep in fossils

After field work on the beach at Lyme Regis he analysed his findings at Bournemouth University.

He said: "I started off in Lyme, knee-deep in fossils, then I went to doing the project in Bournemouth university, net deep in numbers!"

The idea is that Tom could then return to the same site in several years to compare the changes in the coastline.

He said his family are "proud" of his win, which forms part of the annual National Science & Engineering Competition at a ceremony in Manchester, where he picked up a certificate, a glass trophy and a chance to visit either the the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory in La Palma, or the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

Tom, studying Maths, Physics, Further Maths and Geography at A level, hopes to go onto read Earth Sciences at Oxford University, and then perhaps do an Earth Sciences PhD.


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