Lord Robert Winston talks... The science of life

Dated: 5 October 2021

Philosophy teacher and Speaker's Corner co-ordinator Philip Smith introduces Lord Winston
After an 18 month hiatus, Woodhouse students and staff were very pleased to relaunch our Speaker's Corner programme this week. Speaker's Corner has historically seen staff and students working together to target and invite high profile speakers from all walks of life to inform, engage, and challenge our student body. Past speakers (to name just a few) include the US ambassador Matthew Barzun, John McDonald MP, NUS President Malia Bouattia and gay rights activist Peter Tatchell.
As our first speaker of the term, we were lucky enough to receive Lord Robert Winston the renowned professor, medical doctor, scientist, author, television presenter and Labour peer.
The professor, addressing around 250 of our students, spoke at length about his own experience of A levels and university, about being open to changing your mind, trying new things and accepting opportunities that fall your way. He also impressed on the students that he felt it his privilege to talk to them as they, not he, were the people of importance here, because the future is in their hands. He was interested to hear their views and concerns and took many questions from the rapt audience on a variety of topics such as ethics in science, the effect of Brexit and the pursuit of perfection. His anecdotal responses were both humorous and interesting.
Professor Winston was also incredibly generous with his time and was happy to spend a further 30 minutes after the engagement answering more personally to questions from students about their career choices and even his favourite tv programmes.
Principal Sugra Alibhai said “It was an absolute pleasure to welcome Lord Winston to the college, and also a welcome return to having guest speakers at the college in person. His talk was both enlightening and entertaining - our students really took a lot from it. It was incredibly useful for them to hear his reflections on the importance of learning from failure and working collaboratively.
Lord Winston is of course Professor of Science and Society at Imperial College London who are now our partners in the forthcoming ICL Maths School, and this is just the first of many fruitful collaborations that our students can look forward to in the future.”
After the event, the professor had kind words to say about Woodhouse. “I want to come back again…” he commented “I was delighted at the level of attention and the evidence of this being a really good college. I visit a lot of schools and I think Woodhouse students scored very highly - they asked a lot of good questions. The teachers here can be proud of their students - and of course the students of their teachers, it’s a two-way situation after all.”

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