Meeting Members of Staff…

Posted: 12th May 2016

Mr M Bonnell, Teacher of Physics.

We are looking forward to welcoming in September a new teacher of Physics.  Mr Matthew Bonnell has written, telling us about his love of all things Physics…

‘Physics is the most fundamental of the sciences and actually answers the questions that govern the universe. I love to know how things work; I’m not satisfied unless I know how everything works, unfortunately some things are beyond my grasp and things like Space-time are still a little perplexing.

Being brought up by two engineers who worked to design things such as the first space shuttle manipulator arm and the computers to control the airflow intake for the engines of Concorde, my childhood was full of scientific conversation and discovery. My father, who studied Physics at university, was fond of the stories of physicist Richard Feynman’s upbringing and  decided to enable me to understand the basic laws of physics from a young age.  My father was always very excited about Physics and that has definitely been instilled in me.


Although my degree gave me access to lots of mathematics, mechanics and programming it was only when I decided to start teaching that I began to look at things like quantum, nuclear or particle  Physics. It is so exciting and probably the most interesting area of further study for me at the moment. I spend time watching lectures on topics such as dark energy and the hadron collider.

After teaching astrophysics and spending time in the Alps using amazing telescopes I have also found an interest in Cosmology. It’s extraordinary how things we are discovering now from looking into the skies are informing us of what happened in the first moments of the Universe. I studied Electronic Systems at university and I also have a keen interest in engineering topics such as future transport, renewable energy and space exploration and I encourage pupils’ interest in these topics, giving them the opportunities to build things to help them further their understanding of science, through making their own data loggers or making colourimeters from basic components.

Aside from physics, I am a keen outdoors enthusiast, I love camping, hiking and working with programmes such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award.  My favourite outdoor passion is cycling, especially multi-day/week tours across Europe, Asia or America on a fully loaded bicycle with tent, sleeping bag, cooking equipment etc.


I am keen musician and play the piano, clarinet, ukulele, guitar and drums and am teaching myself the violin (this currently sounds very bad indeed). I like to compose and have performed my music with different bands in different places. The BBC came to record us once in Cardiff and put us on the Radio, but at an hour so early in the morning there was a high probability of nobody listening!

I also love music and video tech. I’ve setup small studios for all sorts of audio and video things, recording bands, amateur radio shows, news shows, making music videos etc. I have all of my own equipment to set this kind of thing up in a school setting also, so if there is an opportunity that would be great!

Recently I’ve started to paint, mostly abstract, but also landscape using acrylic. As I’ve never tried painting since school it is a slow learning curve.

I love travel and have visited many places and lived in a few different countries including Thailand, Mexico and Switzerland. I try and learn to cook while in these places and take lessons from friends or professionals. Unfortunately trying to replicate them in the UK has proved difficult with access to authentic ingredients.

I am looking forward to coming to St Augustine’s in September and to sharing my love of Physics with you all!’

Categories: Senior Sixth Form Whole School