East Ayrshire Schools Engineering Lectures May 2012


On Friday 25th May2012, third year school students in East Ayrshire who elected to study Physics were invited to St Joseph’s Academy to enjoy hearing about the exciting world of Engineering.
This event was organised by Mr Colin Barbour, Principal Teacher of Physics at St Joseph’s Academy.

Professor Danny Gorman, Fellow of the Institute of Physics, started proceedings by explaining the links between Physics and Engineering. He introduced the students to the famous Einstein Physics equation, E=mc2, and demonstrated how this equation is at the centre of the design of nuclear power reactors and medical scanners.

A lecture was then delivered by Professor Colin McInnes, Director of the Space Concepts Laboratory at the University of Strathclyde, who introduced the students to the engineering of space travel and satellite communications. His lecture focused on the Scottish Space Satellite industry based in Glasgow and Edinburgh and what the future held with respect to space satellite communication systems, human space flight and space propulsion systems, including solar sailing.

The final lecture was delivered by local man Dr Dan Kirkwood, Engineering Consultant and Past President of the Institute of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland. Dr Kirkwood talked about the exciting world of new materials and how they are revolutionising the engineering design of almost everything around us, and in particular the gas turbine as used extensively in the aerospace and offshore energy industries, to mention a few. He took the students on a tour of the “Global Village” of engineering and concluded that the most exciting things in engineering have still to come and that they can be part of it. The morning finished with Professor Gorman summing up and Mr Colin Barbour receiving a warm round of applause for organising this successful event.

Christmas Talk highlights Scots science genius

December 2012


One of the top three physicists who ever lived was a Scotsman – as important as Isaac Newton, who formulated the laws of gravity and genius Albert Einstein, who developed the theory of relativity.
Senior students at Grange Academy discovered this when Professor Danny Gorman, from Kilmarnock, delivered a Christmas lecture at Grange Academy as part of the Kilmarnock Engineering and Science Society (KESS) outreach programme. The topic was the life and works of James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879), the world famous physicist from Galloway. He, Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, are regarded as the top trio of modern physics.In fact, Einstein said: “The special theory of relativity owes its origins to Maxwell’s equations of the electromagnetic field”. Professor Gorman, Fellow of the Institute of Physics, used computer simulations to demonstrate Maxwell’s groundbreaking work in electrodynamics, colour perception and statistical mechanics. He pointed out that Maxwell’s groundbreaking work eventually led to the television, computer and mobile phone - things we all take for granted today. Professor Gorman said: “I was delighted and honoured to have the opportunity to talk to these outstanding young students about the life and works of this great Scottish physicist, whose genius has had such a great impact on all our lives”. Physics teacher Graham Boyd said: “Professor Gorman gave pupils an insight into how great physicists used and applied their knowledge and the lecture encouraged our pupils to have similar aspirations.” Craig Gemmill, Higher Physics student, said “It gave me an idea of what physics would be like at university and connected with what I have learned in class. The next time I switch on my mobile phone, I’ll remember James Clark Maxwell”. Classmate Rachel Walkinshaw added: “I was aware of Newton and Einstein but had not heard of James Clerk Maxwell. I now know that Maxwell’s findings were just as important and I enjoyed learning about them”. Spokesperson for Lifelong Learning Councillor Ian Linton said: “Science and engineering are vital components in driving a strong economy. Events like this can only help inspire more young people to follow in the footsteps of great Scottish physicists and engineers of the past”.


East Ayrshire Schools Science and Engineering Lectures
June 2013


On Tuesday 4th June 2013 we invited all third year East Ayrshire pupils who had elected to study physics to attend two lectures at St Joseph's Academy, Kilmarnock. This followed on from the similar successful event in May 2012. The theme of this year's lectures was science and engineering and where they meet !! After a brief introduction by Professor Danny Gorman  to the relationship between science and engineering the first lecture entitled "The great variety of engineering" was delivered by Suzanne Flynn, former engineering officer with the RAF. In her excellent lecture she described the highlights of her extensive career in engineering and reminded the pupils of the importance of mathematics and physics if they wanted to follow a career leading to becoming a Chartered Engineer like herself.


After the break Professor Martin Hendry, Head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Glasgow University, delivered a lecture entitled "Exploring the dark side of the universe". In this lecture Martin described to the pupils the Big Bang, dark matter and dark energy. He went on to explain that the atoms which make up everything came originally from dying stars but how about  95% of the universe is still not fully understood as it is made up of dark matter and dark energy.

These two lectures were a "tour de force" of engineering and big science and the pupils were all gob smacked!!
 A warm round of applause was given to Mr Colin Barbour, Principal Teacher of Physics at St Joseph's Academy for all his efforts at arranging a very successful morning.