Oxford Science Museum Visit

Biology students at The Sixth Form College, Solihull took a trip to Oxford to visit the Museum of the History of Science last week for a Key Stage 5 study day.

The A level Biology students – all in their first year of study – attended an exhibition called “Back From The Dead”. This exposition focussed the extraordinary story of the development of penicillin in wartime Oxford, the rise of anti-microbial resistance in modern medicine, and the challenge to scientific research.

The students listen to two talks from academics at the University of Oxford entitled ‘Penicillin remain the most important antibiotics’ by Professor Chris Schofield, the Head of Organic Chemistry and ‘Why is antibiotic resistance such a big challenge?’ by Professor Angela Brueggemann from the Nuffield Department of Medicine. There was then a talk from Dr Czaplewski of Chemical Biology Ventures Ltd on ‘From Lab to Marketplace: An Industry Perspective’. These talks allowed students to see how their A Level Biology studies relate to the issues surrounding antibiotic resistance, as well as how working in industry and academia can help contribute to the solution.

In the afternoon, students took part in some practical sessions run by current students at the University of Oxford, delving deeper into the science behind antibiotics and how studying the Biosciences at university can lead in many directions. The day concluded with a guided tour around the ‘Back from the Dead’ exhibition. The students discovered that penicillin wasn’t all about Alexander Fleming and the roles of the male and female scientists who were involved with the identification, synthesis, mass production and testing of penicillin.

Joseph Wright, Curriculum Leader for Natural Sciences, commented:

“Many of our students are considering studying Bioscience and other Medical-related courses at university, so this trip was particularly insightful for them. The issue of anti-microbial resistance is a particularly hot topic and getting the opportunity to work with such a prestigious institution as the University of Oxford was inspirational for the students who attended the visit.”

22 March 2018