GSCE Science Live
GSCE Science Live Year 9 Trip – 2nd February 2017
On Thursday 2nd February, 25 students from year 9 were selected to attend the GCSE Science Live; a series of lectures from various experienced scientists and professors in a range of interesting topics. The students picked were based on the best scores in Physics and Biology tests throughout the year. The trip was organised by Mr Cooper and Miss Whitehead and Mrs Wright of the Biology department and Dr Pye of the Physics Department accompanied throughout the trip. We set off in the morning bound for Manchester and what would be a knowledgeable and beneficial prospect. This years venue was in the Manchester Palace Theatre. The first speaker was Professor Steve Jones who’s lecture was on Genetics. He spoke in great detail about the effects of genetics on each human in different areas such as diet.
He then spoke briefly on the cost of food and results on obesity and compared this data to the genes we are likely to inherit. It was an interesting yet entertaining lecture. I enjoyed learning about the different types of genetics as well as seeing his comparisons of the relationship between our habitat and our characteristics. He also had this vibrant charisma that kept the students in the room very focused in every word he was saying. This was among my favourite lectures. The next lecture was by Professor Mark Miodownik. The lecture started with a video of a place that allowed you to come and smash objects that weren’t used anymore such as old televisions or a piece of furniture. The professor was deeply concerned about this and his whole talk was based around this video. Prof Mark Miodownik specialised in the science of materials and he spoke about how each object that gets trashed in this place may have materials like metals that are as a matter of fact rare or quite valuable. He then began to analyse each object and the materials it had inside it.
This was indeed quite compelling as it was in other words shocking to see such materials that may take thousands of years to form; getting wasted in a heartbeat. He then began speaking on the self-assembling of different materials, of how pre-existing components may form some sort of structure creating another material. Towards the end of the lecture he challenged us to take such care when thinking of throwing away objects and to always ponder on how to save the valuable materials within the object. Though a insightful lecture, not the most captivating of talks. This was followed by a short break. The next speaker was one of the chief examiners from a GCSE board. He gave us several extremely useful tips when taking an exam, ranging from how to show you working or how to write clearly. Though it seems ages away, it’s never too early to start making preparations.
The next lecture was by well known Professor Jim Al-Khalili and his lecture was enthralling and probably the favourite for the most of the audience. He spoke about time-travel, and what would happen if it was possible. He spoke about Einstein’s relativity theory and the professor suggests that the universe is predetermined and that our present moment is no more special than the past or the future to come.
Al-Khalili spoke about different theories such as the twins paradox. If one twin were to travel at the speed of light for what she considered a year if she went back to Earth her twin could of aged 10 years and therefore 9 years older than her. So in due course if we slow down time this more or less could get us into the future. The professor therefore thinks that time-travel into the future is true. He continued to talk about possible theories and it was a talk that not only gave us much knowledge but made us think.
This was then followed by another segment of GCSE tips. The final lecture was about evolution and was delivered from Professor Alice Roberts. Her lecture was all about how each animal whether a fish, an ape are similar and have similar traits to human. She started by showing us a picture of an embryo still in the mothers’ womb. She began looking at each part and could already see many shared features between the embryo and other animals although it was only a week old! She began to look at things like why we have a tail when we were an embryo, and although I disagree with evolution in general, it was still interesting to see the points she made. She continued to compare more animals to the human embryo and it was overall a good talk. After that it was time to go back to school. We all thoroughly enjoyed the day, learnt many new things and even more of a positive we missed all of lessons!
By Daniel Naguib
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