On Monday 27th January, Year 11 were taken to the GCSE Science Live event at the Brighton Dome. The event takes place nationwide and gives GCSE students the opportunity to listen to five of Britain’s leading scientists who are all working in cutting edge science research.
The day began with a thought-provoking and inspiring presentation by Professor Jim Al-Khalili on Time travel and whether it is fact or fiction. The students learned that to be able to travel to the future a person would need to travel at the speed of light or move nearer to a stronger gravitational field. The thought of being stretched or experiencing ‘spaghettification’ in a wormhole wasn’t a pleasant one. We then listened to the passionate Professor Maggie Aderin Pocock. She spoke to students about her obsession with the Moon that started when she was a child. Her enthusiasm was enjoyed by all students and her sense of humour entertained all, especially when she described herself as a ‘self-certified lunatic’. The infamous Professor Lord Robert Winston who is a pioneer of IVF treatment and well-known science television presenter gave an amusing, relevant and interesting talk on his research. The last two science speakers of the day were Professor Alice’s Roberts and Professor Andrea Sella. Professor Alice Roberts is a renowned anatomist and biological anthropologist. Her talk was focussed on speciation and how there is an extraordinary history of familiar species with wild pasts such as dogs. The final talk was given by Professor Andrea Sella, a chemist from University College London. He entertained the audience with fun demonstrations about ‘strange ice’.
In addition to the scientists, there were two sessions led by a Chief examiner. This covered detailed analysis of the types of questions that would be asked on the papers and how to answer them to achieve maximum marks, the structure of the papers, revision techniques and strategies and the skills needed for success.
The day was enjoyed by the students and many found the sessions and talks very useful and interesting. Here are a few quotes from students below:
“I found the examiner session useful. For example in the exam, I always struggle with evaluation questions. The examiner went through it in detail with us and I found out what I needed to do” (Sachin Othendee)
“I found the examiner report very useful as I learned more about what was expected in answers for each type of question” (Tom Allen)
“I am thinking of a future career in science so I found a lot of the topics interesting that were related to chemistry and astrophysics” (Tom Allen)
“My favourite scientist was Professor Jim Al-Khalili because the subject was very interesting and engaging. I found that my mind ‘exploded’ with amazement to what was theoretically possible” (Adam Rogers)
“Jim Al-Khalili certainly inspired me on a possible career in quantum mechanics or physics that I could do in the future” (Toby Adlam)
“I have wanted to be a vet for a long time. The speakers showed how much depth and knowledge will be needed to successfully reach my goal” (Lauren Peters)
“I am thinking of pursuing a career in biological sciences. The work carried out in the scientific research teams working together sounded fun and something I would really consider doing” (Sachin Othendee)