Ballet, Butterflies and Baking: How Physics Powers Pupils’ Passions

The 2023 Peter Bullock Award Presentation Evening saw pupils from Years 9, 10 and 12 presenting to their peers, families, and a judging panel about how the things they are passionate about are powered by physics.

Pupils from Year 9 and 10 have been hard at work creating projects inspired by the Institute of Physics’ Eurekas competition. Shortlisted pupils were then invited to display their projects in an informal poster symposium in one of the Lockhart physics laboratories, confidently sharing their inspiration and research with attendees. Some projects explored the physics involved in sports, such as cricket, football, and tennis, while others looked at the science behind Taylor Swift’s shoes, a daily make-up routine, and the best place in space for a dancer to jump!

Following on from the poster symposium Year 12 physics students delivered more formal presentations to the group. They also explored topics that they are passionate about through physics-tinted glasses, from the visualisation of black holes to enjoying a round of golf.

The panel of judges (led by former Physics teacher Mr Peter Bullock) had a very difficult job in choosing winners from each year group as the standard was high across the board. After careful deliberation the Year 9 Award was given to Alex and Rohit (first place) for their project on The Physics of Cricket, and Anoshka  (second place) for their project on A Day in the Life of Physics. The Year 10 Award was given to Jocelyn and Harriett (first place) for their project on Microwave or Oven – the Physics of Baking and Katie  (second place) for their project on Straw Weaving. The Year 12 Award had a joint first prize and was given to Sam for his presentation on How physics powers my passion: Flying, and Carolina for her presentation on The relationship between ballet and physics. Lucy secured second prize for her presentation about How is physics in different areas of music?

Congratulations to all of the pupils who took part. Head of Physics, Dr Johnstone, said “The standard of entries this year was outstanding, the Year 9 and 10 poster symposium had a wonderful buzz about it with some fantastic Physics being talked about between pupils, parents and Peter himself. This was followed by some excellent presentations which the sixth form students gave with flair and confidence. All of the students involved deserve a huge congratulations.”

Peter Bullock

A teacher in the Physics department at Cheadle Hulme School for 43 years, Peter Bullock influenced, educated and entertained many hundreds of young minds. He is fondly remembered by generations of Old Waconians and continues to inspire his former students today.