Wednesday, 23 October 2013

A letter to my previous self.....

I find myself a bit on an invalid for a couple of days, but have a mountain of stuff to get through so a brief post today.

It doesn't take much digging about on the internet to find people who send a message to their previous self; don't worry, this is not about me writing a letter to a pimply version of myself warning of all of the mistakes I will make - it would make for a very long post!

But when I was recently in Blighty, I was invited to visit a couple of my previous schools, namely Crynant Primary School and Llangatwg Comprehensive School and talk about my journey from the Welsh Valleys to being an astronomer at The University of Sydney.

Visiting the schools was like traveling through time. Of course, things had changed, definitely more computers and smart boards than in my day, but the layout of the rooms brought back so many memories.

The best thing was meeting the children, who were keen and were prepared with a mountain of cool astronomy questions, from "How far away is space?" to "What happens when you fall into a black hole?". At the primary school, we had an open call on questions from the older kids, and that could have continued all day! The local paper, The Evening Post, were there and ran a little story on my visit to Llangatwg.

I got some excellent feedback from the teachers and children on my visit, with several expressing their desire to go to university and even to study astrophysics (the children that is, not the teachers).

While I clearly was not talking to a younger me, I was talking with kids who are not too dissimilar to me when I was their age. In some ways, it did feel like I was sending a letter to a younger me, and hopefully it will be more fruitful than a self-indulgent blog-post to a fast receding youthful me :) 

4 comments:

  1. Talking to school children about science is one of the most important things that you can do. It seems to me they have so much enthusiasm for science at a young age - but so often by the time they leave school it has gone.

    By the way, I hit the link you provided about "a message to their previous self" and found this article is already ranked second out of 68,000,000 - nine hours after uploading. Maybe science ranks higher in Google than it does in many sections of the community!

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  2. An excellent article Geraint. Whilst I thoroughly enjoy observing through my 12" telescope, my greatest joy is bringing the Universe to the general public, with an emphasis on the children.

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  3. I assume someone 'edited' a few of your answers to the kids' questions? :-/

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    1. I think they come from the scribbles of the reporter who was listening. I know they are not perfect, but it's probably the most astronomy (if not science) that you will find in the evening post!

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