Nobel prize winner in Welwyn Garden City

A NOBEL Prize winner, who has been one of the key scientists in the development of nanotechnology, visited a WGC school.

Professor Sir Harold Kroto toured Monk’s Walk School, visiting classes where he was greeted with “great enthusiasm” and ended up autographing students’ work.

He also met pupils who explained the role of the school’s house system, of which one is named after Sir Harold.

Later in the evening he gave his lecture ‘Carbon in Nano and Outer Space’.

His visit coincided with students from Year 10 who are working on a programme of activities to develop their understanding of nanotechnology.

Some have visited the Depart-ment of Material Science and Metallurgy at the University of Cambridge, while a trip to the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield was also on the cards as they discovered further information.

The excursions helped the youngsters produce projects covering a range of uses of nanotechnology – from engineering solutions to medicine, as well as the potential of the new “wonder” material graphene to help generate electricity from renewable resources.

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These were on display as Sir Harold went around the Knightsfield school.

His wife Margaret was also in attendance and she gave a talk to sixth-form pupils about her insight into studying at US and Canadian universities.

Andy Probert, deputy director learning, science, said: “There was a real air of excitement around the school and the students were delighted just to see that someone like Sir Harry was interested in what they were doing.

“The whole day was a wonderful opportunity for our students to meet and talk to a man who has inspired a generation of scientists.

“He encouraged our students to think differently and to challenge and question aspects of the world about them.

“Hopefully the experience will make them realise that they are also capable of great things.”

Sir Harold won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1996.

He is described as the “godfather” of nanotechnology and his work has spawned many further developments in material science.