Are we alone? Can we travel into the future? Pupils question Dr Adam Hart-Davis
Pupils at Christ College Brecon had a chance to discover the meaning of life, the universe and everything – and how to make a voice synthesiser from drain pipes – thanks to a visit to the school by TV presenter Dr Adam Hart-Davis.
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The presenter of popular history programmes such as What the Romans Did For Us and How London Was Built took part in a GCSE Physics lesson before giving a keynote lecture on cosmology to Years 7 – 11.
Despite his association with history, Dr Hart-Davis is a scientist by training and read chemistry at Oxford, and in the physics lesson shared his detailed knowledge of Newcomen and Watt steam engines and their importance in the Industrial Revolution with pupils studying energy transfer and power. He also demonstrated a voice synthesiser made from drain pipes, a smoke ring machine and Faraday’s candle.
His cosmology lecture was a tour through current feats of engineering and physics, the Solar System, space travel, the scale of the universe and whether on balance we should expect life to exist elsewhere in the cosmos.
Referring to both his travels and his many experiences as a broadcaster, the lecture was stimulating and very wide ranging. The audience asked many good questions revealing the fascination of this topic and the genuine interest generated by the lecture.
Head of Christ College Emma Taylor said: “We are very grateful to Dr Hart-Davis for sharing his enthusiasm for science and for spending the afternoon at Christ College. His impromptu science lesson has certainly given our science teachers a tough act to follow when returning to the GCSE syllabus in the next lesson!”