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Anthony Lilley OBE - CEO, Magic Lantern & Professor, Creative Industries, Ulster University

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Rock Doctor Attends Maths and Physics Morning

Monday, 08 December 2014

Year 11 pupils were invited to visit Bolton School this weekend for a morning of Maths and Physics in the Riley Centre. Fifty-six students from fifteen schools in the local area attended the morning, including pupils from the Boys’ and Girls’ Divisions.

There were various activities on offer. These included taster sessions and workshops on Maths Mechanics and physics over the course of the morning. After a mid-morning break for snacks and a drink in the Riley Centre Café, the final event of the day was a fantastic presentation by Dr Mark Lewney – otherwise known as the ‘Rock Doctor’!

The talk fused concepts from physics and maths with entertainment, and Dr Lewney performed several experiments live on the Girls’ Division stage – as well as performing on his electric guitar. He started out with simpler ideas, using a slinky to show simple harmonic motion: starting out with a slow motion to show basic waves and amplitude, before going faster and faster. He also performed an experiment to show inertia, asking two pupils from the audience to swing bricks on strings as fast as they could.

He even managed to include a discussion of the fourth dimension, string theory and quarks – with slides to the tune of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’!

Dr Lewney managed to present these complex subjects in a funny and engaging way, using the guitar music and audience participation in experiments to help the pupils understand them. This was a fantastic end to a very enjoyable morning of maths and physics.

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The Rock Doctor, Dr Mark Lewney

The Rock Doctor, Dr Mark Lewney

Demonstrating simple harmonic motion using a slinky, with reference to a guitar string

Demonstrating simple harmonic motion using a slinky, with reference to a guitar string

The Year 11s were fascinated by Dr Lewney

The Year 11s were fascinated by Dr Lewney's presentation