FCAT students welcome Lord Winston
22 November 2016
One of the leading figures in British science, Professor Lord Robert Winston was welcomed by FCAT students earlier this week as he arrived as the guest of honour for the 'Building futures in STEM' event at Blackpool Sixth Form College. Jodie from Aspire Academy along with Sophie and Michael from Unity Academy greeted Lord Winston and later showed him around the STEM exhibit before taking their seats for his truly inspirational speech.
Lord Winston spoke to each of the students about their interest in science and what they plan to study in the future.
Lord Winston is well known as a leading figure within the field of reproductive and developmental biology and also from his enormously popular TV programmes on a wide range of scientific topics. He speaks regularly in the House of Lords on education, science, medicine and the arts and is currently Vice Chair of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology.
He gave a fascinating talk about the development of science and technology through history. He drew the audience’s attention to the astonishing pace of progress in modern science and the huge benefits but also dangers this brings. He argued that a key priority for all of society was to vastly increase our level of ‘scientific literacy’ so that everyone can be aware of how best to make use of the opportunities presented by modern science.
He went on to warn of the media’s tendency to exaggerate scientific breakthroughs and gave insightful examples of how the ultimate uses of inventions are only usually known many years after the initial discovery has been made. He gave a detailed example from his own work in which research he had done for the World Health Organisation in the 1960s had been intended to improve contraception but ended up paving the way for key aspects of in-vitro fertilisation.
His talk was full of humour and anecdotes from his own remarkable life in science and the arts (he was a successful theatre director for a while and is chairman of the Royal College of Music). He took questions from the audience at the end on a variety of scientific topics. He recalled the inspiration his own science teachers had given him and encouraged the young people in the audience to share their enthusiasm for science and technology with future generations.
The celebration evening, entitled ‘Building Futures in STEM’ was attended by over 200 guests from the educational, science and business community as well as school, college and university students.