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On Thursday 6th December, the Science department took forty eight year 9 boys to attend the annual Christmas STEM lectures at Oxford University’s Museum of Natural History.

One of the lectures, delivered by Professor Antony Watts, was titled “Carrots, Spiders and Red Salt”. Using physics, chemistry and biology, the fascination with light capture in nature was explained in an interactive way. Many living things on earth, from the most simple of single cell organisms to humans, respond to light using a chemical compound that appeared around 400 million years ago – the compound is called retinal. Biology has evolved and exploited this compound using some of the most fundamental principles of physics in ways that are so incredible, that the topic still fascinates scientists today.

During the break, the boys were provided with the ‘Darwin Challenge’, which involved finding answers to a series of questions using the exhibits around the museum. Only three winners were chosen out of the 300 pupils and so we were really pleased when Nick Stoddart from The Windsor Boys’ School was selected amongst the winners.

Overall, the boys had a really enjoyable day, having the opportunity to visit an inspirational place; listen to academics at the forefront of their respective fields and to look at some amazing exhibits.

Mr S. Miah