Over February half term, twenty two Sixth formers from Oundle School took part in the 15th annual trip to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference this year held in Washington DC.
The AAAS President, Dr Geraldine Richmond gave the opening address on Thursday 11th February outlining the theme of the conference Global Science Engagement and the focus on international collaboration in science and with society.
Undermaster, Physics teacher and Trip organiser, Anthony Burrows commented, “Every year the AAAS Conference never fails to impress, but the announcement of T Cell Therapy and Confirmation of Gravitational Waves made during this year’s conference, was very special and put the conference in the news across the world.
As in previous years all our pupils found something of significant interest and took full advantage of the interesting range of talks.”
The Science Programme included listening to talks on A Problem Shared: Teaming Up to Fight Epidemic Diseases, The CRISPR-Cas9 Genome Editing Revolution and Radiolab – Exploring Big Questions in Science, Philosophy and Human Experience - (these were all mandatory for our pupils) and then they were able to select from some 100+ themed symposia with multiple talks on topical themes including I Can’t Hear Myself Think! Noise and the Developing Brain from Infancy to Adulthood, Evolutionary Biology Impacts on Medicine and Public Health, How the Body Shapes the Mind, Neuroplasticity, Clues to the Chemistry of Addiction and Mood Disorders, Artificial Intelligence, Climate Change Research, Mathematics and Music, Smart Materials, Smart Cities and Data Collection, Library of Alexandria, Intelligent Machines, Learning from the Ebola Outbreak, Public Health Epigenomics, New Types of Neutrinos, Search for Dark Matter, Large Scale Radio Astronomy and Gravitational Waves.
In addition to the conference, pupils enjoyed the culture of Washington visiting renowned museums including the Smithsonian Institute, Arlington Cemetery and the many monuments including a Night Tour of Washington.
Lower Sixth former, Rosie Greene (17) commented, “The AAAS conference this year offered a wide range of lectures on different subjects to do with all fields of science. All were delivered in an inspiring and engaging manner and the trip was also a great opportunity to make new friends based on a shared enjoyment of the experience.”
Background Information on Oundle School
Oundle 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, its campus.
The 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.
At 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. The School is now embarking on a large SciTec Campus development project which will see a new Mathematics department constructed adjacent to SciTec as well as a significant upgrade to the Design and Technology department within the Patrick Engineering Centre. Due for completion in September 2016, the development will unite Science, Mathematics, Design, Technology and Engineering both physically and philosophically, enabling pupils to move seamlessly from theory to practice and from pure science to the achievement of a workable technology. A concurrent Sports MasterPlan will upgrade sporting facilities across the School over the next few years, including a new 1st XI cricket pavilion which opened in April 2015 and new astroturfs due to be completed this year.
There are currently 1110 pupils on roll at Oundle School, with 860 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.