Lord Robert Winston visits CCF

Staff and students at Christ’s College Finchley would like to thank Lord Robert Winston for the time he so generously spent at the school on Tuesday 31st October. The eminent professor of genetics and member of the House of Lords gave two inspiring talks and gave his time to discuss the importance of scientific study with individuals and small groups.

Jus-Karun Grewal in year 11 wrote this report following the visit:

Lord Winston talks to sixth formers at Christ’s College. Photo Mike Coles

“It all began at around 11:30 am last Tuesday in Christ’s College Finchley’s assembly hall as we filed in one by one. The Triple Science students of year 10 and 11 in Christ College were lucky enough to have one of the world’s leading experts in human fertility and biology – none other than Professor Lord Robert Winston – lecture us; also a politician I must add. As we waited in suspense expecting his arrival, we were all delighted to grant the Lord a warm welcome. The pupils from here had full access as Professor Lord Robert Winston’s wealthy bank of knowledge began to pour. We cultivated our knowledge in complex subjects such as how a simple mineral called “flint” was incremental in human development, and the protocols taken to ensure that the Ebola epidemic in 2014 did not “wipe out a proportion of our species.”

Going into 21st century technology, we learnt about lasers and their applications today of which their inventors never dreamed about. The students of Christ’s College Finchley remain grateful for the efforts of Lord Winston, truly a day to remember for the students, and a fruitful moment in the school’s history!”

Neima Roodbari in year 13 added these comments:

“Lord Winston’s visit to Christ’s College Finchley was as thought-provoking as it was inspiring. The thought of meeting such a prestigious scientist was quite daunting for the biologists of year twelve and thirteen. However, after an anecdote about his journey from college to medical school to the theatre and eventually, to research on genetics, hands started to shoot up. When asked about career prospects for women in science, Lord Winston announced that every girl in the room should pursue her scientific interests. His views on this matter became clear when we found out that of all the scientists that carry out research at his lab, more than 50 percent of them are women.”

The answer I received after asking Lord Winston about his views on the CRISPR gene-editing technology was eye-opening. I learnt that modifying a single aspect of our genome could cause unforeseen problems down the line but most importantly, these changes would be irreversible and would affect many more generations to come. Lord Winston shared that he was more in favour of changing our environment to improve our health rather than our genetic code and that epigenetics played a vital role in this.

After a few more questions and a round of applause, the biologists of year twelve and thirteen were left inspired, and most importantly ready to become a part of the scientific world ahead of them.”