At Wellington, we’re dedicated to creating a vibrant learning environment that extends beyond the traditional classroom. To offer our students unique academic experiences, we regularly host an Academic in Residence. This term, Professor Lewis Dartnell joined us, leaving a lasting impact on both educators and students. 

Professor Dartnell’s Fireside Talk was titled ‘Being Human,’ exploring the science of survival and humanity’s resilience over time. 

“His engaging storytelling and insightful analysis left me with a profound appreciation for the resilience of the human species and the biological innovations that underpin the human condition.” – Tom H 

Professor Lewis Dartnell led a Problem-Based Masterclass with our L6 IB students on how to define life and detect it. In this interactive masterclass, Professor Dartnell started by asking our students two questions: ‘what is life?’ and ‘how do we test for it on Mars?’. Through the use of questioning, pupils were encouraged to use their existing knowledge to develop a robust definition for life. They then designed an experiment to test a sample of soil from Mars for the presence of life. They identified variables to test, potential challenges, and explored how the real experiment was conducted in the 1970s. An engaging and thought-provoking masterclass! – Astrid Edmunds, Head of Biology 

For Fourth Form academic scholars, Professor Dartnell delved into the topic of exoplanets, expanding their minds and fostering independent problem-solving skills. 

“Informative and very mind-expanding. Professor Dartnell allowed lots of space for independent problem-solving while still guiding us and ingeniously leading us towards an answer in a way that still felt like we had worked it out independently. An incredibly rewarding experience.” – Evie VR 

“Professor Dartnell gave a wonderful, well-prepared workshop about astrobiology, which was a refreshing break from the usual topics of school. He was very knowledgeable in his field and answered every question we could throw at him confidently, while still challenging us to think about new, unfamiliar topics.” – Chung HK 

Professor Dartnell also engaged all third form pupils in a talk on astrobiology, sparking their imagination about the hunt for alien life and further enriching their learning with problem-based sessions. 

“His workshop provided an added layer of depth to our current studies, while keeping us eager to imagine and think about an extraterrestrial future.” – Raghav R 

Professor Dartnell’s visit was enriching, inspiring critical thinking, collaboration, and real-world application of knowledge among our students. We eagerly anticipate future collaborations with the Academic in Residence program, nurturing a culture where curiosity thrives.