26th November 2015
Writing: Henry Franks (Year 10)
This week, Year 10 students were lucky enough to take a visit to the first of two visits to the GCSE Science Live! show at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in London.
The show itself, hosted by Daniel Powell, consisted of talks from five scientists. The first was Professor of Physics Jim Al-Khalili from the University of Surrey, presenter of BBC Radio 4’s The Life Scientific, among other things. Professor Al-Khalili gave an interesting talk on special relativity and time travel, touching on more advanced topics such as wormholes and quantum physics along the way.
Following Professor Al-Khalili was Professor Dave Cliff, who has a BSc in Computer Science and Masters and PhD degrees in Cognitive Science. Professor Cliff highlighted some of the high points of his career, such as working at HP and the Artificial Intelligence lab at MIT. Professor Cliff talked about Moore’s Law and the future of computers over the next 50 years. In his speech Professor Cliff discussed the concept of cloud computing and how it worked.
Next up was Professor Andrea Sella, an inorganic chemist at UCL. One of Professor Sella’s many talents included talking about science, proven both by his 2014 Michael Faraday Prize for his excellent work in science communication and his ability to engage the whole audience and deliver an intriguing talk. He began by talking about how zebras get their stripes, and then moved on to oscillating reactions and beetroots, and finished by showing everybody how chemistry is so much more than A + B -> C.
The penultimate talk was given by Professor Lord Robert Winston, probably the most well-known speaker to us. He talked about what he does and his work with reproduction and then some further explanation of cells and DNA. The final talk, from Professor Alice Roberts, talked about evolution and the proof that we have found for it, excluding fossils. She talked about how evolution works and how extra body parts that disappear while we are still in the womb are our long lost links to others species, such as gills and tails. She showed us how adaptations can all be taken out to give a common ancestor, and explored the links that connect humans to the creature that first stepped out of the oceans millions of years ago.
Throughout the day we also received information on GCSE exam technique, from current examiners. Although not the most exciting aspect of the day, it was without doubt a useful aspect of the visit. The day as a whole was a great and hopefully inspired many young and budding scientists. Thank you to all of the people involved.