Three girls from The Mary Erskine School travelled to London on Friday 15 June 2018, to attend a thanksgiving service in celebration of the life and work of eminent theoretical physicist, Professor Stephen Hawking. The service was held in Westminster Abbey, and was attended by Professor Hawking’s family and friends as well as 1,000 members of the public who had been allocated seats, though 27,500 people from all over the world applied!
MES Physics teacher Mrs McLaren, who entered the ballot on behalf of the school and won tickets allowing her to take three physics students to the service, said “Stephen Hawking was such an inspirational man, both through science and human endeavours. He very much embodies the values we look to instil in our girls. To be able to take them to a moment of scientific history is something very special for me as I look to inspire our girls.”
Attending the service with Mrs McLaren were budding physicists from the school, Catherine H (S3), Thea T (S4) and Grace M (S6). Of the service Grace said, “Stephen Hawking is one of the first scientists to not only make ground breaking discoveries but also work to make science accessible to the public, so it felt fitting that members of the public were invited to share in this celebration of his life.” Thea said “it was amazing to be in a room where everyone was interested in physics and had a united ambition to understand the universe”.
At The Mary Erskine School, the uptake of National 5 and Higher Physics is four times greater than the SQA average and at Advanced Higher the uptake is three times greater. The school has recently opened two new, purpose-built physics laboratories, and girls enjoy a number of trips each year to Edinburgh's Camera Obscura, Glasgow's digital planetarium, the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, or even the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.
We’re sure that this special trip will inspire girls at MES for a long time.