Posted: 5 January, 2023

LEAP Lecture Series – Spring 2023

Athena, General, News, Sixth Form

Our LEAP Lecture series is a series of talks delivered by staff to Year 12 students.

The 40 minute lectures cover many disciplines (typically particular areas of academic interest or staff expertise) and are designed to whet students’ appetites for university courses and prepare them for lecture style learning.

Launched in 2018, the LEAP Lectures have become a popular and valued part of sixth form life with student feedback emphasising how much they enjoy hearing about, and are inspired by, the academic interests of their teachers.

La Dolce Vita – movie by Federico Fellini

Mrs F Allen

“One of the most widely seen and acclaimed European movies of the 1960s”. We will watch and comment on scenes of the movie.


How to deal with the lack of counterfactuals when dealing with causal effects

Mr J Stibora

For example, we would like to know how people who participated in a programme fared compared to how they would have fared if they had not participated in the programme. This is a problem arising in quite a few subjects, like medicine, politics and economics, to name a few. I will talk about the Doppelgaenger model, its applications to terrorism, cigarette smoking, unification of West Germany with East Germany and Brexit.


Mass Extinction Events

Mr M O’Brien

There have been at least five mass extinction events in the history of our planet. What caused them and what should we learn about how to stop a sixth?


Who owns space?

Mrs L Matthews

Outer space is quickly becoming a constested place. Who owns it? Who should get the profit from any exploration? Can you buy the moon? We will look at whether governments can work out a way to share equitably the spoils of space exploration.


Introduction to phonetics and speech science

Mr T O’Connell

Spoken communication is the bedrock of civilisation, yet it depends on a fantastically intricate dance between the lungs, larynx, tongue and lips. We look at the anatomy of speech and the acoustic properties of the sounds of some major world languages.


The Power of Social Media

Mr H Mistry

Social media has changed and evolved so much since the early days, it’s almost hard to believe how far we’ve come. How people use social media has changed as well. Gen Zs (now beginning to enter the workforce) only know a world with social media, compared to their counterparts – Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers – who can still fondly remember back to the days of snail mail and dial-up modems! Here’s a look at through some powerful moments that shaped the social media history.


Observing Higgs Boson using AI

Dr N Rolfe

What do protein structures, forgotten 19th century composers, discriminatory credit card companies and – ahem – grooming products have in common with the Higgs boson? Dr Nicolas Rolfe explores how artificial intelligence is pervading every aspect of our lives.

How Video Games Have Evolved- A Balance of Society and Technology

Mr R Halsey-Watson

Video Games have existed since the time of the first computer. Over the last 70 years, both technology and people’s access to it have undergone massive changes. We will look at some of the key scientific and societal events, and how the video games industry grew to embrace new opportunities, including the video game crash of 1983, the rivalry between first Nintendo and Sega up to Sony and Microsoft; and the growing issues surrounding video game content and addiction.


Matthew’s feminist agenda and the scandal of Jesus’ ancestry

Miss S Tyler 

Get excited to find out about the five women in the genealogy of Jesus who are named, shamed and redeemed!


We Found God in a Popeless Place

Mr M Pattie

Meet Martin Luther: he’s got 95 theses but the pope ain’t one. In this LEAP lecture we will undertake a counter-factual experiment. What if Martin Luther hadn’t got caught in a Thunder Storm in the year 1505? In the lecture I contest that this is the most important year in Early Modern world history which will change the face of the world as we know it forever. A romp through the causes and consequences of the German Reformation. 


Fashion in the Age of Jane Austen

Miss E Buechler

This lecture will explore the relationship between fashion, literature and social and political events in the time of Jane Austen. 


A world with Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Humans

Mr T Mackenzie

How has Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning evolved over the last decade? My lecture will address how AI & ML are used in medical science and in our everyday lives. In addition to this I also cover the differences in how the human brain and an artificial neuro network processes information.


Mount Everest

Mr P Coulson

Mount Everest is not the tallest mountain in the world. It isnt pronounced Ev-er-rest. It is not the most dangerous mountain in the world. It was first summited in 1922. It’s easiest to climb from China. If you want to find out more about these staggering facts and the most incredible and beautiful mountain in the world than come and scale the north face of this amazing lecture.


Dada and Surrealism

Miss E Swingler

Learn about the influential Art movements Dada and Surrealism. Explore the techniques and creative games the artists used to make surreal poetry and artworks.

'I haven’t studied history since late 2018, but I found myself excited and enjoying your lecture because of how fun you made it out to be, purely because you clearly enjoyed it so much yourself. Thank you for doing that lecture today, I’ve been talking to my parents about it too!'

Year 12 student studying Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics A Levels
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