Sheffield schoolboy who corrected NASA data error says 'it's pretty cool'

Miles is an A-level student at Tapton School in Crosspool
Miles is an A-level student at Tapton School in Crosspool
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A Sheffield schoolboy who corrected an error in NASA data has been hailed for making it 'cool to be a geek'.

Miles Soloman, a sixth-former at Tapton School, in Crosspool, spotted that sensors on the International Space Station were giving false readings.

The 17-year-old contacted scientists at NASA to report the fault, which had escaped their notice, and they asked him to help investigate by charting the anomalies.

Miles said: "I've got to say it's pretty cool. You can tell your friends I just emailed NASA and they're looking at the graphs that I've made.

"We're just A-level physics students and we're just looking at a piece of data but we are in a way on the cutting edge of physics research."

Miles had been looking at the readings as part of the TimPix project, run by the Institute for Research in Schools (IRIS), which gets students to analyse data and look for patterns which could lead to scientific breakthroughs.

James O'Neill, head of physics at Tapton School, said: "Miles was looking at the data. He just suddenly perked up and said why does it say there's minus one energy here?

"He'd noticed that when nothing hit the detector it was giving a negative reading, but you can't have negative energy."

NASA was aware of the problem, it turned out, but thought it was only happening a few times a year rather than on a daily basis. A professor who works with scientists there said they 'appreciated' Miles' correction.

A spokesman for IRIS said: "We're absolutely delighted that Miles had the opportunity to look at the data and find things experts hadn't. That's exactly what we're trying to do with IRIS.

"The way Miles has started, I'm sure there will be people from NASA and the European Space Agency wanting to talk to him.

"The best thing about this is how it's raised interest in science and space research. He's suddenly made it cool to be a geek."

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