Sixth Form physicists visit the Joint European Torus

By Tobias Hardy, Head of Physics

To fend off the global warming crisis, we need to appeal to the hottest place on earth. The sun’s core is 10 million degrees, but in the Joint European Torus (JET) at Culham, the doughnut-shaped plasma in the reactor consistently reaches temperatures of over 100 million degrees to initiate nuclear fusion between hydrogen isotopes and release enormous quantities of energy. The hydrogen is sourced from seawater, and there are no harmful waste products. What is not to like? Unfortunately, it’s fiendishly difficult to achieve.

The Sixth Form physicists visited JET last week, for an inspiring tour and lectures. The scientists and engineers explained the current developments of this futuristic technology, which has come a long way since its inception in 1983, and has inspired the next generation of fusion reactors, driving the plasma science and fusion research. Ground-breaking and innovative engineering solutions are necessary for the magnetic containment, keeping the super-heated plasma just metres from the surrounding vacuum at almost zero, to harness this potentially limitless resource.

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6.1 biologists hear from leading scientists

Venki-Ramakrishnan

By Mary Shotter, Biology Technician

Biologists in 6.1 travelled to the Apollo Theatre in London to hear a series of lectures by some of the country’s leading scientists as part of A Level Biology Live.

First was 2009 Nobel Prize winner and President of the Royal Society, Professor Sir Venki Ramakrishnan (pictured above), whose many scientific contributions include his work on the atomic structure of ribosomes. Ribosomes exist in their millions in every cell, and are the site where genetic information is read to synthesise proteins from amino acids. He began work on ribosomes in the late 1970s and eventually discovered their complex three-dimensional structure in 2000, with the aid of X-ray crystallography.

Next, Professor Robert Winston – who was the Bedales Eckersley Lecture speaker in 2013 – spoke about manipulating human reproduction, from his work in vitro fertilisation, through to regenerative medicine such as stem cell research and epigenetics, which may turn out to be the most important biological development in the years to come. However, he warned that manipulating the human will always be dangerous, uncertain and unpredictable.

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New Sport BTEC Level 3 Diploma launching September 2020

First-XI-Hockey

By Spencer Leach, Director of Sport

Sport BTEC Level 3 Diploma is set to be introduced in September 2020, extending the Sport department’s offer to Bedales’ Sixth Form students.

The course will provide an introduction to the sport and active leisure sector by developing a broad range of knowledge and skills in a variety of sport related areas. BTECs are made up of a number of units that have a practical focus with supporting knowledge and understanding that is assessed through ongoing coursework. This allows students to build their qualification in stages and take responsibility for their own learning by planning their work, completing research and reviewing their progress under the supervision of departmental staff.

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Volunteering in the community

By Al McConville, Director of Learning and Innovation

We’re working hard at Bedales to give students more opportunities to volunteer for good causes, since we know how satisfying that proves to be for many people.

We have kicked off the year with a new scheme for Block 3 to undertake ‘service’ activities within the community to get them in the mood, working with the kitchens, the library and the gardeners to keep the place ticking, and to give them a sense of responsibility for their surroundings.

In addition, a whole host of sixth formers are heading down the road to Steep Primary School to help younger children with their learning, and a separate group have embarked on a project with the Fitzroy charity for adults with learning difficulties at their base in the Sustainability Centre. This week we got cracking on a pond, and painted the inside of their composting toilet!

Lots more opportunities in the pipeline – watch this space.