Blog Archives

Lies, damned lies, and Ofsted’s pseudostatistics

On July 23, 2014

It’s been a week since Michael Gove was unceremoniously given the boot from his role as Education Secretary. The cheers of teachers still echo around staff rooms and schoolyards up and down the country. Gove was variously described as incredibly unpopular, a hate figure, utterly ruthless, and a “toxic liability”. And that was just by […]

Physics is a story – let’s teach it that way

On September 6, 2013

Physics isn’t fun. Like Richard Feynman said, the pleasure is in finding things out. All too often, however, teachers try the ‘physics is fun’ approach. In my experience as a physics teacher and now as a STEM Ambassador, I haven’t seen that method have a lasting effect. Yes, it will grab a student’s attention during […]

Why physicists need to get on Twitter

On June 26, 2013

Physicists, are you on Twitter? If not, it might not just be you missing out. The case for scientists to join the community of 200 million active Twitter users is strong. By tweeting, you can publicise your research among your peers, make contacts, gain mentors, become a role model, find jobs, improve your communication skills, […]

Why Michael Gove’s plan to fast-track soldiers into schools is worrying

On June 18, 2013

Could anything be more important to the future of our society than education? I truly believe not. That’s partly why I chose a career in lecturing, believing it a worthwhile use of my skills as a physicist. There are plenty of other topics causing concern at the moment, such as unemployment, crime and international tensions. […]

Compliments, sexism and careers in science

On June 10, 2013

Imagine this situation: you’ve been invited to a school to talk about science. By chance, you and your helper are both female. You give your presentation, doing your best to portray the wonder and challenge of life as a scientist, and when you’re finished the teacher invites the assembled students to thank “these lovely ladies”. […]