Visit to Vandyke Upper School, July 2014

Professor Paul Shore, the Centre Director, visited Vandyke Upper School based in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire on 15 July to talk to some of the school’s most talented scientists in Years 10 and 11, as part of the school’s programme for potential high achievers.

Paul showed the students the many practical applications of physics and engineering; bringing in titanium hip and finger joints, £50,000 mirrors used in the most advanced telescopes and tiny globules in which elements are stored to create nuclear fusion.

He showed a clip from Spiderman 2 and then explained how what seemed like science fiction is in reality, science fact and how harnessing the energy from nuclear fusion may enable us to save our planet from global warming. It is not just superheros who can save the planet, but real life scientists!

Students and staff left the sessions with their brains still bursting with questions and wondering about the concepts to which they had just been exposed. One student said, “It helped you to learn physics in a way that you didn’t even realise, very enjoyable and fascinating.” Another commented, “It was interesting that there is so much to do in engineering science and how in that field science-fiction is becoming science fact.”

The school thought it was a great experience, both as an insight into the relationship between the school curriculum and its wider application and as a way of broadening students’ awareness of career opportunities open to them in the future. The school plans to arrange further such opportunities in a variety of fields next year.

Prof Paul Shore with staff and students of Vandyke Upper School

Images courtesy of Vandyke Upper School