Pembrokeshire College recently welcomed pioneering scientist, television presenter, author and medical genius, Professor Robert Winston to the Merlin Theatre stage for two consecutive days to present to both members of the public and to learners from across the county.
Professor Winston is known for his major contributions to science, which includes treatments to improve in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and the development of pre-implantation diagnosis. This treatment monitors for genetic diseases in embryos carried by parents which in turn allow children to be born free of illnesses such as cystic fibrosis.
Winston was the presenter of many BBC television series, including Your Life in Their Hands, Making Babies, Superhuman, The Secret Life of Twins, Child of Our Time, Human Instinct, The Human Mind, Frontiers of Medicine and the BAFTA award-winning The Human Body.
In November 2022, Pembrokeshire College A-level Biology learners attended the Science Live Biology Conference in London where Professor Robert Winston was speaking. A-level Biology lecturer Kate Bassett-Jones and learners left the event feeling completely inspired. Kate, along with Samantha Williams from the Darwin Centre, were then determined to invite Professor Winston to present at the Merlin Theatre to both College students and the wider community.
Over the course of 48 hours Professor Winston delivered two fully booked seminars “What makes us happy?” and the “Perils of altering our genes.”
Head of A-levels and Skills Emma Lippiett said, “We are extremely grateful to Professor Winston for travelling to Pembrokeshire to provide two engaging talks covering not only science but also art, music, and history! Having such a prestigious speaker on the Pembrokeshire College stage was a real source of inspiration for our learners, and those from local secondary schools in attendance, and provided an insightful and entertaining event for the local community. We would like to extend thanks to the Darwin Centre for making this event happen.”
The event was orchestrated alongside The Darwin Centre whose aim is to engage and enthuse young people and communities in STEM.
Samantha Williams, manager of the Dragon LNG Darwin Experience said, “It was a honour to co-host such an eminent scientist as Professor Winston with Pembrokeshire College. We are incredibly grateful that he gave up his time to deliver two fantastic lectures, one for the public and another for Pembrokeshire learners. His fascinating and thought-provoking student lecture on dangerous genetics and eradicating disease has no doubt inspired the next generation of medics, researchers and health scientists.”
Following each talk there was an opportunity for a Q&A session with Profession Winston.
Learners from Pembrokeshire College, Haverfordwest High VC School, Ysgol Harri Tudur and Ysgol Greenhill attended and left feeling extremely inspired.
Skills for Further Study learner Gemma Whatling commented: “I thought Professor Robert Winston was very interesting, I enjoyed the talk that he gave and all the information that he knew and what it used to be like years ago. It was also very interesting that he, and a few others, were the first ones to remove one cell from a woman and do work on it, and now years on how common it has become. He inspired me so much that I went on to look into maybe studying bioscience as I was very interested in the things he knows about medicine and procedures.”
Profession Winston rounded off his discussions by mentioning his charity The Genesis Research Trust. Led by the Professor, the trust funds research to progress the understanding of miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm birth, and reproductive cancers, in order to reduce preventable baby loss.
You can find out more about the Genesis Research Trust at genesisresearchtrust.com