Professor Ruth Gregory, who specialises in maths and physics, took a Year 11 girls’ physics class entitled ‘Time and Extra Dimensions in Space’, discussing black holes, the galaxy and more, with a Dr Who inspired twist.
The lesson aimed to encourage girls’ involvement and engagement in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects and touched on the career prospects it can hold for them.
Professor Gregory acted as a role model to inspire the girls from Dame Allan’s Schools, having been the first woman to win the prestigious Maxwell Medal by the Institute of Physics for her work into understanding the structure of the universe.
As students prepare to make their A level subject choices, Professor Gregory encouraged the girls not to feel intimidated by physics or maths and said: “Only your imaginations can limit you.”
During the lesson Professor Gregory discussed many fascinating aspects of her work and the world of science, with the girls particularly interested in black holes and the process of ‘spaghettification’.
One of the students in the lesson, Hannah Richards, 15, wants to pursue a career in science and commented: “It was a brilliant opportunity to have Professor Gregory in school, and to know that she was a student here too really makes me feel like I could achieve what she has.”
Professor Gregory left the school in 1981. She noted that although the school had inspired her science career, she was impressed by the laboratories which had been upgraded significantly.
Dame Allan’s Schools are a group of independent schools in Newcastle upon Tyne. The schools were founded in 1705 with the girls’ school believed to be one of the oldest independent girls’ schools in the country.
The schools offering a ‘diamond structure’ education, meaning students receive the academic benefits of single sex education, with the social merits of co-education.