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Secondary School Events

Free one-day event for Year 9-12 students

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Workshops typically include:

240914(10) Who do you think you are? – Professor Mark Pagel

Professor Pagel suggests two models to explain the relationship between science and religion. One is the seesaw principle – as one side goes up the other side goes down; every time science explains something – religion goes down and explains less. Another model, he says, is the principle of wonder. The more science explains the world, the more we appreciate the world. In that model, science and religion address different questions.

Genetic Selection and Genetic Engineering – Can we make better humans? – Professor John Bryant

Modern science, from information technology to genetics, has given us great power to intervene in human life. Indeed, some have claimed that we can now improve the human species (or at least individual members of it). We will focus on the genetic features of these claims. Can we really make ‘better humans’ and, if so, should we?


How to clone a plant – Jane Fieldsend

240914(5)You’ll be surprised by how straightforward it is to clone a plant and even more surprised to learn how commonly cloning technology is used to support food production. In this hands-on workshop be ready to get up close and personal with some vegetables and the equipment you need to clone your own.


Neurons and Chips – Martin Coath, University of Plymouth

If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, does it think like a duck? The answer is ‘no, not really’. Any machine in the 21st century that mimics being alive is certainly driven by a digital computer – and although we know very little about the brain we can be pretty sure that it is not digital, and doesn’t run a program. Is it possible to build a machine that actually works like a brain? Dr Martin Coath who has worked designing brain-like devices leads a lively workshop on what is and is not possible, and where we are going in the near future.


“But is it biology?” – Dr Keith Chappell

Developments in technology and the understanding of biology on a molecular scale have quite literally changed the way we look at organisms from viruses to great whales, and especially humans. Biology as a science is unrecognisable now compared to the subject it was even fifty years ago, let alone to the Victorians who developed it and brought the study of living things to the forefront of human knowledge. So is it still biology in the true sense of the word or has it become something different? Have we lost something along the way? This workshop will look at biology in its broadest sense to consider – what is biology and who decides.

Extra Sensory Deception – Dr Matt Pritchard

What can you believe? In this workshop the worlds of magic and science collide to deceive and surprise your senses. Can you discover the sneaky scientific secrets behind the surprising illusions? The show will challenge you to think creatively like both a scientist and a magician. The interactive show encourages enquiry and critical thinking, using magic tricks to inspire. Where does faith, belief and the supernatural fit in with rational science? Or are they enemies?

All you need is science. Or is it? – Revd Mark Laynesmith

This interactive workshop will give you the chance to explore how you make sense of the universe: Who or what are you?Is ‘science’ the only way to answer this question? Are there other ways of making sense of existence? And if so, how might all these answers fit together in an emerging Universe? Expect to be challenged and give your point of view!

What cannot be imagined cannot even be talked about – Professor Andy Kempe

But how do you use words to convey what we can imagine? When we put words to what we imagine, how sure can we be that the people we’re saying those words to will end up imagining the same as what we are? This is going to be a playful workshop in which we will explore how the limits of our world may be limited by the limits of our language.

Science and Time – Denise Balmer

The workshop provides an opportunity to discuss the formation and development over time of our planet Earth. The session will be interactive and students will put together a ‘washing line of time’, and discuss whether this is at odds with ‘religious time’ and the biblical explanation of how Earth developed.

Robotics Workshop – David Kempton

240914(7)This workshop involves writing and then downloading programs to run on a small Lego Robot. Students will firstly be challenged to get the Robot to execute various geometric manoeuvres across the floor. Later, the students will be challenged to program the Robot to patrol its environment and use sensors to avoid obstacles in its path.

© 2011 LASAR (Learning about Science and Religion)