Breeding Tomorrow’s Scientists

What an amazing month July has been for physics, with the final confirmation of the discovery of the Higgs Boson at CERN firmly securing a place for 2012 in scientific text books. The event captured the imagination of the nation and I’m sure that, like me, people up and down the country and, indeed, across the world will have saved copies of the newspapers from 2nd July for future review and reference. Those of us who aren’t scientists even managed to grasp the meaning of this find and some intelligent scientific reporting by the national media helped us to understand the basic premise and the magnitude of its importance. These moments in history are few and far between and are to be savoured and celebrated.

It was only last summer that Professor Valerie Gibson gave us the honour of presenting at our end of year speech day. Professor Gibson was the second ever female professor of physics at Cambridge and is UK spokesperson for the Large Hadron Collider experiment at CERN. Her words were inspirational but, more than that, she herself and what she has achieved is inspiring, and it is to women like this who I am thankful for contributing so much to the aspirations of our young female students.

Professor Gibson will be visiting the Stephen Perse Foundation again in the autumn to talk about the Higgs Boson as part of our Inspire Me programme – this will certainly be one not to be missed.

One of the extraordinary and special things about our school, is our ability to nurture the natural talents and interests of our students. This is demonstrated annually by the diversity of chosen further education and career paths they leave us for. Something that I’m particularly proud of is the number of our senior school girls who go on to study maths and the sciences at university – our statistics are way above the national average for this and I put it down to our ethos and environment, which encourages them to study and build a fascination and love of science, away from the sometimes overpowering competitive pressures which can be seen in mixed classrooms. A contentious statement maybe, but one that is backed up by independent research and I believe to be validated by our own Perse Girls’ results.

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