Science Live

18th February 2011

GCSE Triple Science is hard work, and the recent module exam fell right in the middle of mock exam week in January. So the Science department felt it would be a fitting reward to take 50 of our hardest working Triple Scientists from Chatham and Clarendon to the GCSE Science Live event at the Institute of Education in London on January 21.

We were treated to a series of short but inspiring lectures from some of the most famous and influential scientific communicators in the country, plus before lunch the chief examiner from the AQA exam board gave us some helpful tips on maximising your marks in exams.

The first lecturer, Dr Kate Lancaster, works on the HiPER project at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire. She energetically explained how they are trying to engineer nuclear fusion using powerful lasers, which will hopefully become a viable energy source in the future.

Prof Brian Cox, famous for presenting the BBC’s ‘Wonders of the Solar System’, described his work at the Large Hadron Collider’s ATLAS experiment, which is shedding light on the smallest particles ever discovered, and helping us understand what happened at the Big Bang.

Prof Richard Dawkins needed no introduction, and provided a fascinating look at the evolution of our species, with pictures of what our ancient ancestors may have looked like – many thousands of generations ago.

The last lecturer, Dr Ben Goldacre, writes the Guardian’s ‘Bad Science’ column. He talked humorously about his famous and ongoing dispute with “doctor” Gillian McKeith, and why he believes it’s important that anyone making “scientific” claims is held to account.

All the students and teachers who came enjoyed the day, finding it informative, fun and inspiring, and we hope that it gave the pupils some encouragement to continue studying Science at Sixth Form and University. We hope to run a similar trip next year, and are already looking forward to it.

Eleni Kouthouri and Steve Carruthers – Physics Teachers

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