STEM workshops and talks with Professor Lewis Dartnell

Posted: 14th December 2023

On Thursday 7th December we had Channing’s inaugural STEM Christmas lecture from Professor Lewis Darnell. Professor Dartnell began his visit to Channing with a lecture to Year 11 and 6th Form STEM students. This first lecture, entitled “Astrobiology”, had obvious links to Physics and Biology, but also touched on History and Geography.

Last week, Maddie and I were given the chance to interview Lewis Dartnell and ask him questions regarding his experiences as an astrobiologist. (Find our interview, which will be released next month, on the Channing podcast : Chatting with Channing) He gave us insight on his specific interests within the field and key moments that shaped his career, particularly sharing his views on the importance of the engagement and education of the public about science. As well as the interview, Lewis also presented the sixth form with a talk on astrobiology, what it is, and its growing importance in today’s society especially. 

After school, Professor Dartnell gave a captivating talk based on his book, The Knowledge, where he explored the type of skills and understanding a normal person would need in order to rebuild society in a post-apocalyptic world. From wood-fueled cars to homemade glass, we were taught not only how to survive, but how to shortcut our way back to the modern era. With mince pies and the chance to ask Professor Dartnell our most burning questions afterwards, it was definitely an evening to remember.

Chiara P (Y12)

In addition to delivering two lectures, Professor Dartnell led a ‘problem based learning’ workshop, encouraging Year 13 students to apply scientific knowledge in a creative way. They were asked to design an experiment to discover life on another planet, challenging the Year 13s to use simple concepts in biology and chemistry to first define life and then to determine how it can be found. This workshop helped some students to prepare for interviews, and helped all of them develop their problem-solving skills. 

Rebecca B (Y13)

Categories: Uncategorised