February holiday, twenty three Sixth Form pupils from Oundle School headed to
Chicago for an annual trip to the American Association for the Advancement of
Science (AAAS) conference.
Mayor of Chicago himself opened the conference, with the AAAS President then
taking to the floor to develop the main theme of how the convergence of science
can address the major challenges that lie ahead, namely feeding the growing
population on the planet, addressing future demand for energy and sustainability,
and dealing with health problems of an ageing population.
Conference Programme included talks on How Discovery and Innovation Can Meet
Our Energy Challenge, Getting Beyond a Blind Date with Science, From Yeast
Cells to Patient Neurons: A Powerful Discovery Platform for Parkinson’s and
Alzheimer’s Diseases and Stretchy Electronics That Dissolve in Your Body.
Pupils were then able to select further talks from some 100+ themed symposia on
topics from Dark Matter to Human Psychology via Biology, Industrial Chemistry,
Neuroscience and its link to Nanotechnology and Communication of Science. The
main speakers hold chairs at universities and included a former U.S. Secretary
of Energy, two Nobel Prize winners and actor Alan Alda
(of MASH fame).
leader, School Undermaster and Physics teacher, Anthony Burrows commented, “All the pupils found something of
significant interest and took full advantage of the interesting range of talks.”
Sixth former, Anne-Louise Westad (17) commented, “I thoroughly enjoyed being able to broaden my scientific knowledge
outside the classroom in a mature and informative environment. It felt surreal
to have so many resources in one location and the range of talks gave me the
ability to discover new ideas from ‘The Suffocation of Marriage’ to ‘Non-Coding
RNA in Development and Disease’ which gave me a whole new insight into
scientific progress throughout the world.”
the five day conference, the pupils enjoyed a variety of cultural activities, including
a walking tour of Chicago and its striking architecture amidst the snow, a
frozen Lake Michigan and the famous Millennium Park. Visits to FermiLab,
Skydeck, the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, Art Institute of
Chicago, a college basketball game, ice skating, a cinema trip and a scavenger
hunt were also on the agenda!
concluded, “Throughout the conference,
the pupils made the most of opportunities available to them by engaging in
conversations with other attendees of their own age or presenters. Their
enthusiasm for the science was most rewarding.”
Publicity and Press Relations Officer
Background Information on Oundle School
School is situated in the quintessentially English market town of Oundle, about
90 miles north of London. The School’s buildings, dating from the 17th to the
21st centuries, are dispersed throughout the town, which is, to a large extent,
School’s history dates back to 1556, when Sir William Laxton, Master of the
Worshipful Company of Grocers and Lord Mayor of London, endowed and re-founded
the original Oundle Grammar School, of which he was a former pupil. In 1876,
the Grocer’s Company divided the School into two parts; Laxton Grammar School,
primarily for the inhabitants of the town, and Oundle School, primarily for
pupils from further afield. In 2000, the Grocers’ Company reunited the two
schools under the common name of Oundle School and retained the name of Laxton
for the day House.
the beginning of the 20th century, Oundle was put firmly on the map of leading
English public schools by its most famous headmaster, F W Sanderson, who
established Oundle’s reputation as one of the great science and engineering
schools, a reputation still renowned today. In 2007, SciTec - a major and
ground-breaking new science complex - opened, housing 16 state-of-the-art laboratories.
Phase two of the SciTec vision is now underway, with enhanced Design Technology
facilities and a new purpose-built Mathematics Department planned to link the
STEM subjects both physically and philosophically. A concurrent Sports
Masterplan will upgrade sporting facilities across the School over the next few
years, including a new 1st XI cricket pavilion in 2015.
are currently 1110 pupils are on roll at Oundle School, with 865 boarders and
250 day pupils. Also within the Corporation of Oundle School is Laxton Junior
School, a day School for children aged 4 to 11.