Whitgift greatly enjoyed having Dr Jonathan Hare for a six-week residency at Whitgift, over the second half of the Michaelmas Term, when he ran a series of workshops and projects for the School’s Science Enrichment Programme. He has an impressive CV: his PhD work with Sir Harry Kroto led to a method of making the football molecule, Buckminsterfullerene (C60); he has worked as a 'Time Lord' at the National Physical laboratory, working with atomic clocks; and developed a gas-powered car with British Gas. Alongside this, he has presented two major television series, exploring how science is relevant in our everyday lives (Rough Science and Hollywood Science). Dr Hare is currently a visiting lecturer in science communication in the Physics department, at Sussex University.
Dr Hare ran a series of workshops for Lower Fifth Form students, exploring a diverse range of topics, including: the structure of geodesic domes; the possibility of a 2000-year-old electric battery; light beam communication; and the science that might come in handy to work out where in the world you are, if you crash-landed like Tom Hanks in the film Castaway!
With a smaller group of keen Upper Third and Lower Sixth Form students, Dr Hare ran two more in-depth, six-week projects on geodesic domes and light beam communication. Each of these projects went from the foundation science, to building a large, 5m diameter dome (a mini version of the Eden Project domes), and a fully-functioning two-way communication system, using a beam of light to 'transmit’ the students’ voices.
Dr Hare was impressed by the enthusiasm of the students, especially considering much of the work was done after school and during lunchtimes, commenting: “These projects required a creative approach to science and the outcomes of these projects has been fantastic.”
In addition to all of the above, Dr Hare also built an interactive permanent exhibition that will go on display in the Science corridor, consisting of a set of five experiments that explore the electromagnetic spectrum. These experiments range from radio waves, light beam transmitters and receivers (that can also pick up lightning from storms), and a thermal imaging camera, as well as experiments with ultraviolet, and a detector to pick up cosmic rays and natural background radiation.
Whitgift would like to say a tremendous thank you to Dr Hare, for a jam-packed, thoroughly engaging and informative term, and wish him well in his future projects.