On Friday 18th January, 12 Sixth Form Biologists attended the annual A Level Live lectures at the Victoria Apollo Theatre, London. It gave them a chance to hear from some of the best scientists who are working at the cutting edge of their specialisms. There were also sessions from specialist Biology examiners, designed to help students improve their grades in their final exams.
There were talks from a range of scientists about various Biology topics. Our first talk was by Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore who spoke about her research on changes that happen in the brain during adolescence. Whilst Professor Robert Winston delivered a very interesting lecture on the ethics of biology, and how science has been misused over time.
A quick break was followed by the third lecture from by Dr Alan Rutherford, based on his book titled 'A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived'. He discussed DNA and inheritance in the Hapsburgs, who were all married to close family members, and the consequences to offspring. He also outlined how DNA was used to identify a skeleton found in a car park in Leicester as the fallen King Richard III, whose remains had been unknown for 500 years.
Just before lunch, Dr Jenny Rohn lectured on revenge of the microbes, an account of the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria. With Dr Ben Goldacre continuing the day’s lectures with his talk about the misuse of data, particular in relation to the MMR scandal.
The students thoroughly enjoyed the day and are still talking about some of the points that were raised.