Back to School

This week I had the pleasure of meeting young minds and some of those who helped mould mine in to the scientific genius it is today…. Well there’s a lot of science in it, not sure about the genius!

I did that thing many people dread….. went back to school! I grew up in a small coastal town with only one comprehensive secondary school. I have many memories and made friends for life. It was in school where my love for science grew and I learn’t how sulfuric acid mixed with sugar makes a treacle scented monster which explodes and grows out of the glass beaker. I also learned that my teacher is always right, which she made me write over and over….even though she was wrong.

[Cathodes are negative because a cats tail is like a negative sign, I always remember this, she was confused and thought I meant cations which are positive! I was most definitely right, but maybe my attitude was what got me in to trouble]

So I went back to SHCC to meet my old science teacher and to give morning assemblies to young minds from every year group. It was very strange being back, but nice to see some familiar faces. Some of my old classmates are even staff nowadays!

I wanted to talk to the students about non-traditional careers in science. At that age the only scientists you can think of are your teachers, it doesn’t even cross your mind that your doctor and vet might be scientists, as well as those blokes off the telly who explode stuff! I wanted to open their eyes to all things out of the box, from shark tagger to genetic modifier, curing cancer to stopping climate change.

It saddens me when people tell me ‘Oh I always wanted to study dinosaurs or work as a astrophysicist, but real people don’t really get those jobs do they’……yes they do, anyone can do those jobs you just have to work hard and make opportunities. On top of that you need to have confidence in yourself that you can do it and it helps to have the support of your family. Even parents these days say ‘oh become an accountant, at least its good money’ even if their kids want to be vets or astronauts. We need to encourage these young minds, if no one tells them it’s possible they may never know. This is why I think seeing someone, especially an ex-student, who has gone out there and made their dreams happen, show them photos from around the world and tell them how to get there, can be an inspirational experience.

I encourage all of you who have made their dreams happen and love their jobs, give back to your community, volunteer to go to schools, open days and scout groups. Get young people involved, inspire the minds of tomorrow.

I had a fantastic week, the kids were so well behaved and they invited me back as Dr.Walsh. One student tweeted me that I inspired him for the day and I can tell you there is no feeling better then knowing you’ve made a difference.


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