The Thomas Hardye School

Physics and Biology ‘AS into A2’ Competitions - Winners announced



The summer term Ogden Physics Essay Competition for Year 12 students was won by Jasmine Thomson for her account of 'The parallel universe theory'. Jasmine, who is now in Year 13 and hoping to study Physics at university, became the first girl to win the competition (now in its fourth year). Distinguished judge, Professor Hugh Griffiths, a Governor and Trustee of THS who holds the Thales/Royal Academy of Engineering Chair of RF Sensors at University College London, commented “I felt this was very clearly presented and explained, and I genuinely learned something”. During a visit to the school in November, Prof Griffiths commended the students’ efforts for their scientific depth and insight, literary style, and ‘wow’ factor. In second place was Emma Osborne’s 'Possible solutions to Olbers' Paradox', third Daniel Jacobson’s 'Einstein's contributions' and fourth Raphael Treccani-Chinelli’s 'Solid state technology - Moore's Law and its repercussions'.

After presenting prizes donated by The Ogden Trust to the winners, Prof Griffiths fascinated the fresh crop of Year 12 physics students who were studying diffraction with discussions about his work on radar particularly in the areas of cloaking and stealth and how diffraction techniques can help with detection.

Girls have made a strong showing in this competition in previous years too despite being in the minority of entrants; Bethany Tanner, Sophie Kendall Price, Mirabelle Knowles, Sian Franklin, Kirsten Smith and Acacia Rudd are all on the roll-of-honour alongside winners Ed Duckworth, Josh Young, Joe Arey and other runners-up Peter Dillistone and Jordan Maddocks.

Dr Rand (Subject Coordinator for Physics) values the experience gained by the students “The essay competition gives the Physics students an experience of the type of assignment they will face when studying at a Higher Education establishment. This is a challenge which they do not normally come into contact with as part of the programme of study for the A-level”.

Biology sixth formers were also set an opportunity to develop their key skills and knowledge when they returned from taking their AS level exams in the summer term. Now in its second year, the school’s ‘Year 12 Biology Investigation Award’ (which together with the physics essay contributes towards Science being recognised as an Associated Department of The Prince’s Teaching Institute), challenged students to carry out original research projects and to write them up in a clear scientific style. Professor John Bryant from the University of Exeter adjudicated according to pre-set guidelines and declared ‘Butterfly Distribution’ by Ailsa Kelly as winner with ‘Foraging Behaviour in Bees’ by Tara Chittenden second and ‘Effects of Minerals on Plant Growth’ by Tom Hill third. Entries from Joshua Mitchell-Cole, Nicole Hope and Octavia Kurn were Highly Commended. The top six biologists received certificates from Dr Rowe (Subject Coordinator for Biology) and will be presented to Professor Bryant when he visits next March to run a Genetics and Ethics session for Year 13. Dr Rowe commended their efforts “Many of the students produced creative, novel projects with surprising outcomes. It is an exciting way for them to experience a complete, individual real science investigation from beginning to end”. ¬†

The school values highly the thoughtfulness, hard work and time taken by our external judges who are both renowned scientists in their fields; the independence of their assessment adds rigour and prestige to both competitions.

(The winning students were photographed after their presentations next to photograms recently put up in the science department depicting ‘The Physicist’ and ‘The Biologist’. These were produced by collaborations between Year 12 classes and the school’s photography department and were designed to encourage holistic thinking about subjects).



November 2015