By Lara Loasby, Block 4
Wired Next Generation Day is an annual event put on by the innovation and technology magazine Wired, to inspire teenagers to experiment with and learn about the latest technologies. They have on average 15 speakers, ranging from an international drone racer to a memory scientist to topics on animation and CGI at Pixar. They also have a room filled with different interactive displays, such as an interactive ultrasound hologram that will be used for advertisements and has been sold to Crypton Future Media for hologram concerts.
The talk I most enjoyed was by Heston Blumenthal on the science of taste. During the talk he made us all take a glass of Coke and look at two screens, one had ‘Coke’ written in spiky bold writing and the other had ‘Coke’ written in soft bubble-style writing. He told us to take a sip whilst looking at one of the two screens, and when we looked at the screen with the spiky writing the Coke tasted almost sour and when we looked at the bubble writing it tasted even sweeter than normal. He explained that this was because our senses work in a specific order, sight, sound, smell, touch and then taste so the way that something looks or smells can greatly affect the way that we taste food, which I found really interesting.
Another talk that I really enjoyed was by Julia Shaw who was a memory scientist specialising in manipulating memories. She told us that she could delete memories or create them, and that this was not a special skill. “You do it all the time” she said, and then proceeded with examples of when she, as a teacher, asked students to write about their favourite moment of the holidays. When she was creating memories, she changed at least one specific detail of the students’ memories and with some she wrote a new one. When she gave them back to the students, none of them realised that anything had been changed, and when she asked some of the students who had had theirs completely re-written, she was surprised to find that they could tell her about the event that she made up for them in startling detail – even though that event had never happened.
There were many other fascinating talks, for example a bionic arm builder and Pixar’s leading animator – all in all it was an amazing day and I really loved it.
This science activity is a great one to join – especially if you love wonderful smells and making your own ‘Lush’ products.
They are fun experiments with often hilarious results! Days at Bedales can be very busy, and so it is great to just enter the lab and explore and experiment with science. Making our own cosmetics and bath products was relaxing and simple. Every week we meet in the lab and make different things such as bath bombs, lip balm, sugar scrubs, moisturisers and more (see photos below).
It is amazing to learn how to make these brilliant concoctions and to be able to create them at home too. Until I joined the club, I hadn’t realised how fun and easy it was – I love to take what I have made back home as everyone is so impressed with the results. Lesley and Allen are very helpful in the lab and let you be creative and independent and it is so fun working with your friends.
By Carrie Kemper, Block 3
Bedales Block 4 students have scooped a host of awards in the Biology Challenge, a national competition set by the Royal Society of Biology.
Of the 20 Bedales students that took part, 11 were awarded Gold, three were awarded Silver and three Bronze, with a further three pupils being ‘Highly Commended’. The Biology Challenge, which was taken by over 30,000 students across the county, is an online competition which tests students’ knowledge of Biology and Natural History. Harry Snell scored an outstanding 102/120, Raphael Henry 99/120 and Goose Milton 97/120, these scores were well above the 81 points required for the Gold award.
Congratulations to all involved.
By Mary Shotter, Biology Technician
On Monday the 21st of March, Psychology and Biology students attended Brain Day, a series of talks and demonstrations concerning the science of the brain from Dr. Guy Sutton. We learned about subjects ranging from the effects of cannabis and other drugs on the brain, to new technology using brain waves that was once thought as science fiction, as well as issues such as mental health. Dr. Sutton also dissected a sheep’s brain in front of the students to allow for a closer look into the structure of the brain, as sheep and humans share a similar structure. The students were also allowed to hold, touch and feel the brain giving way to a further insight via a more interactive exercise. In conclusion, Brain Day was a way for the students to further their learning in the field of neuroscience that was applicable to both the subject of psychology and biology.
By Morgan Burbridge, 6.1
Prof. Alan Lucas and former teacher, Andrew Routh
We were delighted to welcome Professor Alan Lucas, Old Bedalian, back to school last week to give a Civics lecture entitled: “A personal adventure in early nutrition and early life influences”. Alan founded the Child Nutrition Research Centre at the Institute of Child Health in London, where he is now professor of paediatric nutrition. It became evident during his talk that his work and determination have led to substantial advances, even upheavals, in our understanding of the effects of paediatric nutrition on conditions such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
His use of randomised trials to investigate, for example, the effects of breast milk vs formula milk and the effects of various nutritional regimes on the long term health of individuals were both remarkable, and a revelation.
Alan reminisced warmly about his years (from 1956-1964) at Dunhurst and Bedales and he particularly paid credit to his inspirational Biology teacher, Andrew Routh who, at the age of 91, was sitting in the audience. This was one of those magical Civics lectures that entertained, informed and allowed adults and students alike to learn and discuss such important issues with the leading academic in the field.
- Camera traps have caught chimps placing stones in the hollows of trees and banging stones on those same trees, which along with strange dances in front of fires, waterfalls and in rain, point to them having some idea of religion. It seems to be passed down through specific tribes as a sort of tradition.
- It seems Mercury used to have a layer of graphite up to 1 kilometre thick on its surface, floating above its mantle. This explains Mercury being darker than would be expected, and the spectrum of parts of its surface match graphite. Lava flows would have covered many parts which is why it is not all black.
- When galaxies collide, lots of new stars are formed by the gas clouds hitting each other but the collision can also throw the innermost stars into the black holes at the centres, and if the black holes start orbiting each other then they can pull in stars much more easily. Although our galaxy will collide with Andromeda in 4 billion years, we are far enough out that we are unlikely to be swallowed up.
- Pluto definitely has an atmosphere, and may even have clouds and other atmospheric features. All the pictures from the New Horizons probe won’t get back to Earth until nearly the end of this year, but those that have show clouds and a “haze” around the whole planet. Its atmosphere appears to be mostly Nitrogen, with some methane, ethane, acetylene and ethylene.
By Izzy Edgeworth, Block 5
Groups from Block 4, 5 and accompanying teachers visited Oxford to attend the GCSE Science Live event recently. We were fortunate enough to hear five of Britain’s top scientists deliver lecturers on their specialisms including Professor Robert Winston, Professor Andrea Sella, Professor Steve Jones, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Professor Mark Miodownik.
We also benefited from receiving some top tips on examination success from a chief science examiner.
Prof. Winston and Prof. Jones focused on human life and evolution – the former talked about his research into IVF treatment and how it has changed over the past thirty years and the latter gave an interesting talk on human evolution and how environment changes the human mind and biology.
Prof. Sella gave a humorous talk on chemical processes using on-stage demonstrations and Dr Aderin-Pocock talked about astrophysics and how telescopes will develop over the next few years. Prof. Miodownik presented his ideas about the future in 2030, and what recourses and materials we will be using and how they will be used.
Overall, the trip was a fun and interesting experience that helped expand our knowledge on GCSE Science, the lecturers each showing a passion about their subject.