22. Technicians and Teacher Talk

In 1927, the Solvay conference brought together the likes of Einstein, Curie, Schrodinger, de Broglie, Dirac, Bohr and on and on. That was the highest density of physicists until a couple of weeks ago when Robin caught up with Chris, David, Steve and Ben at Uppingham school.

In the same way that drunk guys start to talk about their mums, teachers will start talking about technicians and how wonderful they are. We point out how essential, precious and endangered they are. We encourage teachers to make sure their technicians are given professional recognition. Make sure they are fully included and feel that they are equal members of the science team. Technicians need professional development and should be included in professional dialog. Check out http://www.preproom.org and techognition for more (since publishing this episode have had even more suggestions and there is now a dedicated page for technician focused sites).


  • Lewis Matheson from alevelphysicsonline.com and vacuum cannons sold out @ 01:14
  • Americans going back to the Moon @ 03:06
  • Space Suits @ 03:37
  • Physics teachers and technicians @ 05:59
  • Practical in Memoriam @ 21:40
  • Closing the episode @ 35:23


Robin had a round table discussion with four other teachers at Uppingham School. Dr David Boyce, Ben Dickens, Steve Allen and Chris Shepherd.

Of course with so many of us, we had to discuss our practicals in memoriam. The Whoosh Bottle is a lot of fun. We found a video of the tin foil speaker but it does not show the setup: Thomas had reasonable success with a signal generator on low impedance, but the volume was pretty quiet before the sig gen borked. Pushing a current through glass does work, and the video Robin found is certainly not a CLEAPPS approved method.

Thanks to the wonderful gang for a great natter. Apologies though to Steve: the censors cut our discussion of how to maintain dignity while talking about those areas of physics that have… a double-meaning (Uranus or Kundt’s Tube anyone?). We may air it at the end of the year when we will be off on our hols to allow the furore to pass.

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The music is used under the Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License