151. Tony Wilson
A Professor from the University of Oxford has donated scientific kits and microscopes to help over 20,000 children get hands on with science.
Professor Tony Wilson’s initiative began with the Royal Microscopical Society who, in 2011, loaned five microscope activity kits to primary schools to help children get excited about science and discovery.
Soon after, it became clear that teachers were not proactively using the microscopes in lessons with the children, so he sought to devise an activity pack to go alongside the microscopes. The pack, including explanatory notes, guidelines for teachers, worksheets, and videos, helped to make participation and understanding the instruments a little easier.
The successful programme now annually supports 150 primary schools across the UK, working with pupils aged four to12 years old. Each school receives a free microscope activity kit for a term at a time with Professor Wilson and his team continuously inventing new activities; at the moment, it’s all about ‘CSI-style crime solving’.
Professor Wilson has also helped organise a ‘Microscope Activity Day’ at the Livery Hall of the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers, a hands-on day of investigations and experiments to celebrate the 350 th anniversary of the first published work in microscopy.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“Professor Wilson has used his incredible experience and expertise to inspire over 20,000 primary school children to get hands on with science, creating the next generation of Alexander Flemings. His remarkable dedication to getting young people across the country excited about science and discovery demonstrates his passion for science and education. I am pleased to present him with the UK’s 151st Point of Light.”
“The whole idea is to focus young, wide-open eyes on the glory of the natural world around them. Why is it like that? How big is it, how heavy is it? Let me see. Let’s have a closer look….”
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