GCSE Science Live! 2017


On 10th March, 20 girls from Year 10 attended the ‘GCSE Science Live!’ event which was held at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. The day consisted of several fascinating lectures from five world-renowned scientists such as Professor Jim Al-Khalili, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Professor Lord Robert Wilson, Professor Alice Roberts and Professor Andrea Sella. Altogether, there were around 2500 students from a broad selection of schools, who listened to the academics talk about a range of Physics, Biology or Chemistry based topics. A former Chief Examiner: Stewart Chenery also shared with us advice on answering science examination questions, how to gain the most marks and how avoid making the most common mistakes.
The first scientist to talk, Professor Jim Al-Khalili is currently Professor of Theoretical Physics and Chair of Public Engagement in Science at the University of Surrey. He gave a very absorbing lecture about time travel and explained how travelling into the future is theoretically possible, according to Einstein’s theory of relativity and relative velocity time dilation. He also explained the theory of wormholes and how they could be used as shortcuts for long journeys across the universe to travel back in time.
Next, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, and English space scientist, science educator and current presenter of the iconic BBC show ‘The Sky at Night’, talked about how she hopes to emigrate to Mars for her retirement. She explained how since we know there are forms of water on Mars, H2O can be split into hydrogen for fuel and oxygen for breathing. Maggie is an Honorary Research Associate in University College London’s Department of Physics and Astronomy.
Professor Lord Robert Winston, a medical doctor as well as a politician who sits in the House of Lords on the Labour party benches, spoke about human fertility and embryos. He is also currently working on methods of maturing eggs outside the body leading to IVF treatment being much more affordable and accessible. Professor Alice Roberts who has appeared on several BBC anatomy and human evolution shows presented us with the notion of tracing evolution – but without using any fossil evidence in her analysis. She explained how we are all living proof of evolution. She talked about how the bone structure of the human hand is strikingly similar to others quite different animals suggesting the presence of a common ancestor.
Finally, Professor Andrea Sella, a Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at UCL, gave us a thrilling live Chemistry demonstration and explained the importance of ice and how it carefully regulates climatic temperatures on Earth. He posed the awful questions: What will happen once all the ice has melted in the Arctic? And how will this affect the average temperatures and climate on Earth. Overall, the science trip was very interesting and engaging, the speakers made the subject matter really accessible and thought-provoking. We thought it was fascinating to see how Science is being applied to the real world and is being used to research and discover more about ourselves, our planet and beyond.

Natasha Chittoo 10H

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