Bedalians head to Oxford

By Clare Jarmy, Head of Religious Studies and Philosophy and Head of Academic Enrichment and Oxbridge, Bedales

Every year, 6.1 students at Bedales have the opportunity to attend the Oxford University Open Day. This gives them the chance to attend lectures, see some of the colleges, and get a feel for what an Oxford education, and the application process, would be like. This year, as part of the 3i programme, students in Block 3 and 4 were invited to hop on the bus for a trip that we ran in parallel: an Oxford experience that introduced them to a top university, and to find out the differences that Oxford and Cambridge present, compared with other universities. For the youngest students, it was a chance to iron out some misconceptions ‘If I’m at this college, am I still at Oxford?’ or ‘Which college does English?’ For some, it was a chance to start setting their sights high for study after Bedales.

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Whilst the 6.1s were traipsing from college to college in the afternoon, Block 3 and 4 got a chance to see some of Oxford’s excellent museums, including the Museum of the History of Science, and the Natural History Museum (including the shrunken heads in the Pitt Rivers). The Block 3s had a photo competition, with categories such as ‘most intriguing object’ which you can see above.

This is just one of the many opportunities that students in 3i get. 3i (after Badley’s happy phrase ‘intelligence, initiative and individuality’) is a community of engaged, interested learners at Bedales. It includes academic scholars, those nominated by staff, and those who nominate themselves. 3i runs a regular bulletin, which publicises events, competitions and trips.

Professional guidance

As the academic year reaches its climax with the beginning of the examination period, the Professional Guidance department is looking ahead to the next cycle of Higher Education and Careers advice.

The 6.2 students who have applied to university this year are making their final choices from the offers received whilst concentrating on A2 exams.  On Friday the 6.1s had a lecture from the Admissions Officer from the University of Southampton about how to make an attractive and individual application via UCAS. This was followed by sessions with Vikki Alderson-Smart, Sarah Oakley and myself about setting up UCAS or Common Application accounts (for USA), and understanding the portfolio process surrounding Art College applications.  This Sunday evening (8 May), the information will be shared with 6.1 parents in the SLT at 7.30pm.

On 18 June, 6.1 and 6.2 students will be invited to the OB Fair – a hugely popular event – where OBs currently at university return to Bedales in order to share their experiences with the sixth form.  This interaction has proved very valuable to our students as it gives them an insight into undergraduate life.  Block 5 students are by no means forgotten at this time of year, and will have their own Careers Fair on 24 June where numerous professionals from a huge variety of specialisms come to discuss their own career paths and offer tips on how to get to where you want to be.

It is a very exciting time of year for us in the PG department and we hope the students enjoy the events as much as we do.

By Alison Mason, Careers and North American university liaison

‘State of the Universe’ student led lectures

Sixth form Physics ‘State of the Universe’ lectures were thoughtfully prepared and professionally delivered this year by the current 6.1 students. These included a carefully calculated account of the effects of all humans jumping at the same time at the same place on Earth; not too much as it happens according to Jim Kan and Callum Steele. They did go on to describe the catastrophic effects of collectively lasering the moon. Chris Bury gave an account of contemporary robotic capabilities and many of the moral dilemmas that these devices will inevitably present in the future. Would you be happy that your self drive car steers you into a tree rather than hit a pedestrian? The exciting prospects for nanotechnology from space elevators to buckyball medicine dispensers or ‘nanobombs’ were plain to see in Patrick Newlands and Kath Welch’s presentation. The elegance of supersymmetry was well reflected in Chloe Zhao’s amusing and well balanced talk which started with some inspiring pieces of visual art from Ryoji.

Physics Chloe

There followed a three stage launch into space through recent developments in Exoplanet discovery ably outlined by Sam MacGuffog and Izzy Soper. The challenges facing the development of space vehicles for commercial and scientific endeavours was described by Nico Bradley and Max Hannam, where different funding routes could drive the project such as Mars 1; the one way trip to colonise Mars but presented as reality show; Elon Musk’s Space X programme which suffered its first set back recently with an exploding rocket system and the need to have reusable vertical landing and recoverable rockets.    Naveed Khalessi, Bella Anderson and Will Harvey pursued the idea of the relative merits of different propulsion systems and the practicalities of terraforming  Mars or more distant planets.

Physics Mars

Angel Fang gave a thorough account of the mechanism and uses of quantum cryptography in data security systems using the properties of quantum mechanics to elude would-be hackers. The lectures concluded with Ned Jones and Keir Dale tackling the knotty problem of superstring theory, tying the cosmological general relativity with the submicroscopic quantum world and wrapping it all in 11 dimensional space. The conclusion was that…it was hard to prove.  All together the students put in considerable individual efforts to grasp the essence of their talks, delivered them brilliantly and gained much from each other and the experience.

Physics LHC

Read the full lecture notes here

By Tobias Hardy, Head of Physics