Awaiting the lectures - Thomas Franks, Year 10

This week a group of 50 science-enthused Year 10 students ventured to London to attend GCSE Science Live, a huge event featuring five of the UK’s leading scientists. The event started with Professor Jim Al-Khalili, a specialist in physics, who has presented many BBC programmes on the subject. His lecture asked if time travel was possible: it was a journey through wormholes, light-speed travel and time.

Appetites thoroughly whetted, the idea of space travel continued in Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock’s lecture, which explained the planets in a brand new way, and what it would be like to take a one-way trip to Mars, both as a realistic scientific expedition and as an inter-planetary form of the gameshow Big Brother, with the astronauts having to live peaceably with one another in confined conditions for very long periods of time.

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Professor Lord Robert Winston took the final morning slot, explaining his field of expertise – genetics – which led to his development of IVF. The Imperial College based professor enraptured us with his medical skill, demonstrating the ovulation process in far greater detail than we had previously explored it. Professor Steve Jones, another geneticist, followed on after lunch, talked about how physical attributes travel through families – using the royal family as an example – and how genes can determine some quite unexpected factors.

Professor Andrea Sella, a regular on BBC television and radio programmes, led the audience on a journey through chemistry and biology, examining genetics again, but from a chemical perspective, with what started as fascination as to why a variety of beetroot contained a spiral pattern.

In addition to the expert scientists, an exam board representative brought forth vital wisdom for exams, with examples of all too common mistakes and blunders made by students in the summer. It was a hugely enjoyable and useful day and thanks must go to Mr Wilson, who organised the brilliant trip to an outstanding scientific event.