More than 100 students from schools across the UK came together to present and share their research at Tonbridge’s Annual Science Conference on Friday 10 March.
The full programme included a total of 50 student presentation sessions, display stands created by pupils from as far away as Los Altos High School in California, and powerful keynote speeches from three leading scientists.
Keynote speakers were Professor Lev Sarkisov, Professor in Chemical Engineering at the University of Manchester; Sophie Harker, Assistant Chief Engineer of Electric Products at BAE Systems; and Professor Sir Jim Smith, Director of Science at the Wellcome Trust and visiting Fellow of the Crick Institute.
Schools taking part, in addition to Tonbridge, included Sevenoaks, Woldingham, Harrow, Tonbridge Grammar, Benenden, Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar, King’s Canterbury, Winchester, The Judd School, Westminster, Weald of Kent and Skinners’ Kent Academy.
Student presentations, based on a ‘share and discuss’ format, covered areas as diverse as artificial intelligence, quantum mechanics and the influence of the internet on global democracy.
In his closing address, Tonbridge’s Headmaster, James Priory, thanked students for contributing to “a tremendous community of thought, ideas and insight”. He drew the conference’s attention to the anniversary of the birth of Scottish mathematician and geologist, John Playfair, who was the first to propose that a river cuts its own valley.
“Throughout the day, we’ve seen curiosity, creativity, the importance of divergent thinking. We’ve also seen the value of patience, determination, persistence,” Mr Priory said. “Determination with hope will be important as you go onto your further studies and careers. Hold onto that idea: that the river cuts through the valley, thanks not to its power, but its persistence.”
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