Year 10 scientists this week attended Science Live at Oxford’s New Theatre, where they gained the opportunity to see and hear from five of Britain’s top scientists, all working at the cutting edge of their specialisms.
On Wednesday the whole of Year 10 strolled down to the New Theatre, Oxford, to listen to five renowned scientists enthuse and engage about their field, including Professor Robert Winston, Dr Helen Czerski and Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, as well as Professors Alice Roberts and Andrea Sella. These scientists all have a fantastic ability to communicate with secondary school students in a direct and exciting way, and past experience confirms that events like this are a brilliant way of galvanising GCSE learning, but also bring vividly to life the fact that science really does offer solutions for many of the world’s great problems.
Dr Helen Czerski is an inspirational physicist and oceanographer, working at the cutting edge of her field and also in the most extreme conditions in the Atlantic Ocean and North Pole. It was amazing and memorable, therefore, to hear her truly eye-opening talk about how the oceans’ ‘breathe’. We next heard from Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, the ‘self-certified lunatic’ who nonetheless spoke eloquently and with great humour about the under-rated impact of the moon on our lives. Her wacky style and sense of humour showed deeply just how much she is passionate about her subject. Professor Lord Robert Winston, well-known in the field of fertility, was hugely engaging and vindicated his reputation as a firm favourite amongst our pupils at OHS.
In the afternoon, Professor Andrea Sella wowed the crowds with his notion of ‘strange ice’, linking the everyday summer need for ice in your drinks with the world of energy and chemistry, another firm favourite of our pupils. Finally, Professor Alice Roberts completed the line-up with a look into our past, at how our ancestors depended on wild plants and animals for survival, but then suddenly started to tame both plants and animals. The impact this has had not only on how we see ourselves but how cutting-edge anthropology and genetics is able to reveal how they are essential to our own survival as a species was superb.
Here are some of the comments made by this year’s Year 10 scientists on the day:
“GCSE Science Live was a really valuable experience that has inspired me to pursue a career in science – a truly inspiring, one-of-a-kind experience.”
“I, too, am a self-certified lunatic!”
“How passionate the scientists were about their own work was amazing. I loved the enthusiasm they all had for their subjects; there was so much energy in the lectures, literally and figuratively!”
“I have respect for Professor Lord Winston for explaining the reproductive system to a room full of teenagers. He answered Lily’s question on abortion honestly but sensitively; a very respectful man.”
“Science isn’t my thing, but Professor Lord Winston made it really enjoyable and interesting.”
“The lecture on amazing water was excellent, but he still didn’t answer my question – is water wet?”
“The speakers were engaging, I loved the stories about the experiments out at sea.”