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News > Alumni News > Allanian physicist concludes Schools' inspirational new lecture series

Allanian physicist concludes Schools' inspirational new lecture series

PROFESSOR Ruth Gregory returned to Dame Allan's to deliver a fascinating talk to pupils that drew to a close the successful, inaugural year of The Lectures. 
30 Mar 2023
Alumni News
Ruth Gregory pictured with Sixth Form Physics students
Ruth Gregory pictured with Sixth Form Physics students

PROFESSOR Ruth Gregory returned to Dame Allan’s to deliver a fascinating talk to pupils that drew to a close the successful, inaugural year of The Lectures. 

The notable mathematician and physicist, who attended the Schools between 1974 and 1981, shared her passion for cosmology and explored the existence of black holes with a captivated audience of senior pupils interested in science. 

Her one hour talk, followed by a lively Q & A session, was the fourth and final instalment of The Lectures programme this academic year. “I really liked meeting the Sixth Formers,” said Ruth, Head of the Department of Physics and Professor of Theoretical Particle Physics at King’s College, London. “They are our future, and I so want to encourage them to pursue their passions.”

A Level Physics students Francesca Morgan and Denny Shy both enthused about Ruth’s talk, which discussed circulating ideas around black holes, the concept of string theory, and her work with Canadian theoretical physicist Raymond Laflamme. 

“I particularly enjoyed her answers to questions after the lecture, which included some clarification on the definition of 'strings' and 'branes', as well as some anecdotes about her time with Stephen Hawking,” said Francesca. “The lecture was incredibly inspiring and left me with many other questions and thoughts about the ideas she discussed. It also provided me with a vision of what my potential career and academic choices might look like.”

Denny, who described Ruth’s talk as ‘amazing’, added: “I’m incredibly grateful to the Schools for organising such fantastic lectures. With a wide range of topics covered, and each talk being given by an acclaimed speaker, the lectures have given students the chance to delve deeper into the subjects they enjoy.

“More importantly, they have been incredibly inspiring and given me motivation to work hard. I would encourage others to attend these lectures going forward, it truly is an amazing opportunity!”

The Lectures programme, which this year featured talks by Dragons’ Den star Sara Davies MBE, economist Roger Martin-Fagg, and award-winning international speaker, Marcus Child, has been facilitated by Allanian Mark Dolder, CEO of Northumberland-based Bazaar Group.

Mark, who attended Dame Allan’s in 1971 – 78, felt inspired to ‘give back’ following his own success in business and has pledged to back The Lectures for three years. He said: “It’s been such an enjoyable journey - starting The Lectures from scratch; investing time and effort into getting the idea off the ground and audiences signed up; and then seeing the impact they’ve had on all those who attended.”

Mark, who has worked closely with the Schools to develop the lecture programme, added: “I’ve really enjoyed collaborating as a team and looking at ways to maximise the benefits of each lecture to ensure pupils are being educated and inspired outside of the classroom. 

“In return, all the speakers have been very impressed with Dame Allan’s – with the welcome they received and the ethos of the Schools – and we are now planning ahead for next year with an exciting shortlist of names.”

Head of Sixth Form Paul Terry, who has led The Lectures internally with operational support from Katherine Leonard, Development Officer, and Rebecca Miller, Head of Admissions and Communications, said the talks had been a resounding success.  

“It’s so important that we encourage our students to be intellectually curious and to have opportunities to meet people who have achieved great things,” he said.

“It’s rewarding to see lots of students with their hands up, keen to ask questions or to stay behind at the end to speak to our guest speaker. These are experiences that will last a lifetime and will hopefully continue to inspire throughout.”



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