Astrobiology Summer Academy 13th-16th July 2014

The Astrobiology Summer Academy is a four day CPD programme (Sunday to Wednesday) for Biology AND Physics teachers to learn about the science of Astrobiology and work with researchers and lecturers to develop CfE lesson plans for topics such as ‘extremophiles’ (CfE Higher Biology) and ‘life in the Universe’ (SCN-3-06a, SCN 4-06a).

During the four days you will learn about the origin of life, the possibility of life on other planets, and the study of life in Earth’s extreme environments, such as in the Antarctic ice sheets and deep ocean hydrothermal vents.

The expectation is that during the four days you will also take part in the development of distinctive lesson plans to be implemented in schools shortly afterwards and made available to teachers. These lessons plans will be consistent with the CfE curriculum and you will receive assistance in bringing them together.

 There are 20 places available for teachers and you can register your interest at

 Further details from

Charles Cockell,
Professor of Astrobiology,
Room 1502,
UK Centre for Astrobiology,
School of Physics and Astronomy,
James Clerk Maxwell Building,
The King’s Buildings,
University of Edinburgh,
Twitter: @UKAstrobiology

UK Centre for Astrobiology:

Higgs Prize Winners

First Minister Alex Salmond announced the very first winners of the Higgs Prize for physics.

The Higgs Prize is awarded on merit to two pupils from a publicly-funded school who have shown outstanding performance in the Advanced Higher Physics exam.

It was established in recognition of the impact Nobel Physics Prize winner Professor Higgs’ theoretical work has had on modern day particle physics. Its purpose is to reward and inspire Scotland’s best young school physicists. The award winners will visit the internationally renowned CERN research facility in Switzerland to take part in its summer school and a specially designed programme of events.

The inaugural Higgs Prize winners are:

Lucy Willets-White, formerly of Boroughmuir High School in Edinburgh, now studying Physics at Imperial College, London. At the moment she intends to stay in physics, either in industry or research.

Peter Rhodes, formerly of Madras College, St Andrews, and applying for further study starting September 2014. At the moment he is interested in a possible career in neurology and psychiatry.

The First Minister also confirmed that £4 million funding will be provided to support Professor Higgs’ legacy. This will include a £2 million contribution to the Higgs Centre at the University of Edinburgh, alongside an additional £2 million to support a new generation of young researchers in physics and mathematics at universities across Scotland, through the Scottish Funding Council.

Announcing the Higgs Prize winners, the First Minister said:

“Professor Higgs’ achievements are hugely inspiring for our young people and his commitment to encouraging our next generation of scientists is well-known. It’s very fitting that we mark his globally recognised work through the Higgs Prize.