Article - Issue 21, November/December 2004

Teach physics and develop tomorrow’s engineers; Coming soon … the Science Museum welcomes the 2004 MacRobert Award winner; Geronimo!

Download the article (60 KB)

Teach physics and develop tomorrow’s engineers

Inspiring and relevant teaching can motivate pupils to pursue a subject such as physics into higher education.

Enthusiastic physics specialists with an engineering background can make excellent teachers, capable of unlocking students’ potential. Professionals who have some element of physics in their degree or occupational experience in physics will now be able to undertake an ‘enhancement course’ to broaden and deepen their knowledge before undertaking teacher training.

The 6-month pre-ITT enhancement course is full-time and attracts a training bursary of £150 per week. Participants will also receive additional support to develop their knowledge of physics from the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and the Institute of Physics throughout their teacher training and their first year in teaching.

Those studying on a postgraduate teacher training route to become a science teacher will receive a tax-free £7000 training bursary from September 2005 and a further £4000 Golden Hello payment on taking up their first post.

Keele University (01782 583120) and St Martin’s College, Lancaster (01524 384500) are now recruiting for the second year of the pilot, starting in January 2005.

Pilot enhancement courses are also available in mathematics and chemistry from January 2005. For more information about the courses visit the Teacher Training Agency (TTA) website at Open school visits and taster courses are also available and aimed specifically at those who are interested in pursuing a career in teaching physics (0845 6000 991).

Coming soon … the Science Museum welcomes the 2004 MacRobert Award winner: IBM UK Ltd

Early in the New Year London’s Science Museum will host a unique exhibition about the 2004 winner of the £50,000 Royal Academy of Engineering Award for innovation in engineering. Now in its 12th year, the Museum’s MacRobert Award display has varied from an enormous undersea plough to the workings of an asthma inhaler and the design of the Millennium Dome. The latest in the series will be equally challenging and evocative of British engineering success.

A team of engineers at IBM UK won the 2004 MacRobert Award for innovation in engineering for its WebSphere MQ family of software products, which has helped businesses save billions of dollars by providing a failsafe means of exchanging business-critical information between computer systems, irrespective of their location and regardless of whatever hardware, programming language, operating system or communication protocol they use.


Fellows of the Academy are taking a high-profile part in a brand new TV series to be shown on BBC 2 in January 2005.

Geronimo! will be based on a set of engineering challenges held on beaches around the country at the end of October. In Weston-super-Mare, teams of budding (and professional!) engineers from schools, universities and industry were invited to enter machines they had built to do penalty shoot-outs and triple jumps. In Blackpool the challenge was to build an amphibious racer and a sand-digging machine.

The programmes will be family-oriented and the emphasis is very much on fun and hands-on engineering. They will be presented by Fearne Cotton (CBBC and Top of the Pops) and Dick Strawbridge, a past champion of Scrapheap Challenge and recently retired Lt-Col in the Signals Regiment, who recreated some astonishing war time inventions for Crafty Tricks of War, his highly successful BBC 2 series shown earlier this year.

Advising on repairs where necessary and judging the winners from an Academy ‘Battlebus’ were four very experienced engineers:

Professor John Burland, Emeritus Professor of Soil Mechanics at Imperial College, London.
Professor Jim Randle, Honorary Professor of Automotive Engineering at the University of Birmingham.
Professor Paul Wiese, Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor of Engineering Design at the Open University.
Professor Chris Pearce, Technical and Quality Director for INBIS Group plc.

[Top of the page]