Professor Heinz Wolff

Posted: 30th June 2016

An industry titan and titan ‘giver’. 

On Friday 20th May, we wrote about our annual Young Scientist of the Year Competition, an opportunity to showcase the stretching and challenging STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) provision here at St Augustine’s Priory. The standard of work produced by pupils was exceptionally high and we enjoyed completing the series this year with a prize-giving ceremony on Monday 27th June. Alongside the theme of exploration and achievement that ran through the ceremony, a spirit of collective ambition and respect underpinned the proceedings, for we were joined by a very special guest…

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The renowned Professor Heinz Wolff, Scientist and Inventor, is known by the general public for his TV and radio work, most famously perhaps for the BBC’s ‘The Great Egg Race’, ‘Young Scientists of the Year’ and ‘Great experiments which changed the world’. What led to his suitability for these roles was more than an engaging conversational style. Professor Wolff graduated from UCL with first class honours in Physiology and Physics, the foundations on which he built a legacy of promoting the sciences to young people, as well as the importance of considering the ethical and social impact of advances within them. Operating at the highest echelons of the industry, Professor Wolff directed divisions in both the National Institute for Medical Research and the Clinical Research Centre, and founded the Brunel Institute for Bioengineering. Many years after coining the term ‘bioengineering’ he received an honorary degree of Doctor of Science from Brunel University, where he is now Emeritus Professor of Bioengineering. So, why did Miss Hayden, Head of Physics, invite him to visit our pupils?

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Professor Wolff was recently awarded £1 million as part of Innovate UK’s ‘Long Term Care Revolution’, for his ‘Give & Take’ Care programme. The ambition of the project is that of achieving an affordable, sustainable model of care for our elderly population, based on the idea of mutual exchange. Professor Wolff explained to pupils the context of an ageing population, medical advances and limited state resources. His solution would see individuals give their time and, in exchange, receive credits which one is then able to ‘cash in’ to receive an allowance of time when they themselves seek support later in life. The scheme has been likened to a pension, banking time rather than money. The credits will be called ‘GATs’ (Give And Takes) and will accumulate at an hourly rate.

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Professor Wolff’s hope is that this will provide much needed capacity in the care sector, independent of state, commercial and existing third sector models. He spoke of the importance of young people becoming involved and understanding that caring for the elderly now will allow them to reap the benefits of the scheme when they themselves are elderly. Professor Wolff advocates putting a “semicolon in history”, being brave in our adaptation to society’s changing needs and simultaneously building stronger communities.

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Pupils listened intently to this pioneer of STEM and found themselves prompted to consider the sensibleness of Professor Wolff’s innovation and how this type of activity reflects the community culture of St Augustine’s Priory. Thank you, Professor.

Click here to read further details of Professor Wolff’s Give & Take project

Click here to learn more about the provision of Science at St Augustine’s Priory

Contributor: TFarmer

Categories: Junior News Flash Senior Sixth Form Whole School
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