2022 Gloucestershire Schools’ Christmas Lectures

Published on 5 December 2022

After an absence of 3 years due to Covid, the 11th Annual Gloucestershire Schools’ Christmas Lectures were held at the Bacon Theatre, Dean Close School in December 2022 to a sell-out audience of County schoolchildrenSome 500 pupils from 18 schools across the County enjoyed presentations from two leading science communicators who focussed on Maths greatest unsolved problems and the dynamics of energy.  The entertaining and interactive presentations, which were enjoyed by the students and teachers, referred to the real-life context for students to enable them to appreciate the relevance of science in any future career.

The ongoing concern around skills shortages and the continuing need to produce and retain more scientists and engineers in the future make events like this an essential part of the work companies and organisations are engaged in throughout the STEM community.

Maths greatest unsolved problems” – Katie Steckles explained that while mathematicians are undoubtedly brilliant, and their work is used in all kinds of amazing scientific and technological discoveries, there are still questions they can’t answer. Every mathematical question is a puzzle to be solved, and while there were plenty of puzzles to chew on, she also discussed some of the questions that still leave mathematicians stumped – from simple-sounding number and shape problems to some truly mind-bending fundamental questions.

2022 Gloucestershire Schools' Christmas Lectures

The dynamics of energy” – Demos and dancing collided explosively as science songwriter and Physics teacher, Jonny Berliner, brought to life the history of one of the deepest ideas in science by showing all the ways energy can be stored and transferred. Students met figures from history such as Marie Curie and James Joule, played real-life Angry Birds, found out how much energy they are storing in their body, and used some of it to dance along with infectiously catchy SciTunes that make the science stick in the memory as strongly as a superconducting electromagnet!

A musicals’ composer, singer-songwriter and graduate in the history and philosophy of science, Jonny’s mission is to light the understanding of muddied minds with clear, comic songs.

2022 Gloucestershire Schools' Christmas Lectures

Each year we ask for feedback from teachers and students and this year we saw overwhelmingly positive feedback for the programme.

2022 Gloucestershire Schools' Christmas Lectures

Over the eleven years, some 6,000 students have attended the lectures.  None of this would be achievable without the support of our sponsors – who this year were Renishaw plc, Spirax Sarco plc, Harrison Clark Rickerbys, Solicitors and the Royal Society of Chemistry, Bristol and District Section.  We remain indebted to them.