- Sixth Form
The Royal Society (RS) is the oldest national scientific institution in the world. It was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II in 1662, and adopted the motto “Nullius in verba”…… “Take nobody's word for it!” This motto is particularly appropriate for LEH’s Physics students, who are encouraged to be critical thinkers and to carefully consider the information they are given. On 25th April, we visited the RS, in its beautiful Grade 1 listed building, to enrich and extend our understanding of Physics. We acquired an appreciation of the Society’s 350 year history, experienced the elegance of its marble rooms, and looked out at spectacular views of The Mall and St James’ Park! The LEH group consisted of 12 students: Humayra (LVS), Avani (LVQ), Ellen (LVS), Zeta (LVQ), Ridaa (LVQ), Sadie (LVQ), Sophie (LVP), Jade (LVP), Sophie (LVS), Aria (LVIE), Michelle (LVID), and Ramandeep (LVIC) – accompanied by myself and Mr Johnson. During our exploration of the building we were able to see artifacts associated with such luminaries as Isaac Newton, Robert Hooke, and Steven Hawking. We also attended a lecture entitled “Photovoltaics, solar energy: present status and emerging perovskites” by Professor Henry Snaith - the Group Leader of 'The Photovoltaic and Optoelectronic Device Group', Department of Physics at Oxford University. His work is at the forefront of solar cell research, and he was named one of the top 10 people making scientific breakthroughs in 2013. It was fascinating to hear how perovskite is being used to construct the next generation of high performing solar cells. We were inspired by Professor Snaith’s experience of establishing a technology firm: including how he coped with failure, learned new skills, and approached challenging problems with creativity and determination. It is clear that we need more noble Physicists like Prof. Snaith to meet the world’s need for clean and efficient sources of energy. Luckily, sitting in his audience with me were some of the best Physics students in the country!
It was a great trip, especially since we could see the fascinating Royal Society building. It was refreshing knowing there’s hope for an effective and renewable way to generate energy.
I thoroughly enjoyed the physics lecture and was fascinated to learn that solar cells only have a limited efficiency of 33% and that perovskites would be much more efficient, as of now the efficiency of a solar cell has not reached further than 50%.
Attending this lecture was an experience I’ll never forget. I learned a lot that I didn’t know in the lecture, but parts of it were more interesting than others. The Royal Society building was also stunning and I’m glad that I was able to visit it.
Seeing the Royal Society and the history within it is amazing. I’m really glad I had the opportunity to visit it and even attend a lecture.
By Mr Brittain – Teacher of Physics