Science teaching in the 50's

Share your memories and stories from your days at school, and find out the truth behind the rumours....Remember the teachers and pupils, tell us who you remember and why...

Moderator: Moderators

sejintenej
Button Grecian
Posts: 3377
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 12:19 pm
Real Name: David Brown
Location: Nordkapp, Norway
Has thanked: 52 times
Been thanked: 25 times

Re: Science teaching in the 50's

Post by sejintenej » Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:09 pm

J.R. wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:41 am

I can also remember some pretty 'hairy' experiments in Uncle Kirby's lab out of school hours, but under Uncles very watchful eye !
JR: AFAIR that watchful eye was as you woke up in hospital ! (I can LOL even if you don't)

More seriously we were taught in advance how to handle problems in case they arose. As an example, when to boys were covered with 30N caustic soda** in the absence of a teacher we knew exactly what to do and we did it. That is a lesson I used when I was teaching and it saved a life.
** For non-scientists that is almost but not quite as dangerous as you can get - it destroyed the boys shirts and trousers in seconds
‘So, still happy you voted for my namesake who took away your health insurance, raised your taxes and should turn out to be a mental patient?’

bakunin
UF (Upper Fourth)
Posts: 97
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:22 am
Real Name: Manch
Location: The westernmost lands
Has thanked: 101 times
Been thanked: 53 times

Re: Science teaching in the 50's

Post by bakunin » Thu Jun 28, 2018 6:22 pm

sejintenej wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:09 pm
J.R. wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:41 am

I can also remember some pretty 'hairy' experiments in Uncle Kirby's lab out of school hours, but under Uncles very watchful eye !
JR: AFAIR that watchful eye was as you woke up in hospital ! (I can LOL even if you don't)

More seriously we were taught in advance how to handle problems in case they arose. As an example, when to boys were covered with 30N caustic soda** in the absence of a teacher we knew exactly what to do and we did it. That is a lesson I used when I was teaching and it saved a life.
** For non-scientists that is almost but not quite as dangerous as you can get - it destroyed the boys shirts and trousers in seconds
What did you do in that situation?

bakunin
UF (Upper Fourth)
Posts: 97
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:22 am
Real Name: Manch
Location: The westernmost lands
Has thanked: 101 times
Been thanked: 53 times

Re: Science teaching in the 50's

Post by bakunin » Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:07 pm

LongGone wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 8:32 pm
As I have mentioned before, I am disappointed at how little news or recognition of the sciences is in any of the CH publications. After 80+ years I would have expected a new science complex to have been built: I believe the 'New' Science building is from the 30s.
I agree. There was probably a lot more enthusiasm about science in society in general in the 50s compare to the 90s when I went.

At 11 I was extremely enthusiastic about science and had done every experiment in my chemistry set and several of my own and thoroughly read and re-read the Osborne GCSE Chemistry Companion (or something like that). I could probably have done a chemistry GCSE in my third form with just a small amount of extra tuition, if any teacher had bothered to notice. A friend in my year (one of few I still am in contact with) was in a similar position. While potential athletic and musical talents were closely examined and encouraged, it would have been far more useful to focus on developing advanced science skills than on hobbies. At the end of our time in school, both of us were resentful of getting little recognition (we didn't get academic buttons despite better performance than many who did), perhaps because of our subversive publications and lack of school spirit.

At university I essentially ruined my possible future scientific career by focusing on drinking... I also became demoralised by my total failure to make any headway in research...

rockfreak
Grecian
Posts: 560
Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2014 8:31 pm
Real Name: David Redshaw
Location: Gravesend, Kent
Has thanked: 1 time
Been thanked: 24 times

Re: Science teaching in the 50's

Post by rockfreak » Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:36 pm

Drinking is a thoroughly worthwhile academic discipline and there should be a PhD in it.

sejintenej
Button Grecian
Posts: 3377
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 12:19 pm
Real Name: David Brown
Location: Nordkapp, Norway
Has thanked: 52 times
Been thanked: 25 times

Re: Science teaching in the 50's

Post by sejintenej » Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:29 am

bakunin wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 6:22 pm
sejintenej wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:09 pm
J.R. wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:41 am

I can also remember some pretty 'hairy' experiments in Uncle Kirby's lab out of school hours, but under Uncles very watchful eye !
JR: AFAIR that watchful eye was as you woke up in hospital ! (I can LOL even if you don't)

More seriously we were taught in advance how to handle problems in case they arose. As an example, when to boys were covered with 30N caustic soda** in the absence of a teacher we knew exactly what to do and we did it. That is a lesson I used when I was teaching and it saved a life.
** For non-scientists that is almost but not quite as dangerous as you can get - it destroyed the boys shirts and trousers in seconds
What did you do in that situation?
Diluted the chemical with plenty of cold water - they were not wearing coats at the time.
‘So, still happy you voted for my namesake who took away your health insurance, raised your taxes and should turn out to be a mental patient?’

Katharine
Button Grecian
Posts: 3041
Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2005 10:44 pm
Real Name: Katharine Dobson
Location: Gwynedd
Has thanked: 68 times
Been thanked: 32 times

Re: Science teaching in the 50's

Post by Katharine » Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:13 am

bakunin wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:07 pm
While potential athletic and musical talents were closely examined and encouraged, it would have been far more useful to focus on developing advanced science skills than on hobbies. At the end of our time in school, both of us were resentful of getting little recognition (we didn't get academic buttons despite better performance than many who did), perhaps because of our subversive publications and lack of school spirit.
That was very true at Hertford too. I may have said it before, I left school with a place at Oxford for maths on a closed scholarship, a Queen's Guide and a DofE Gold Award holder yet was made to feel a failure as I was unmusical and not athletic.
Katharine Dobson (Hills) 6.14, 1959 - 1965
Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia!

sejintenej
Button Grecian
Posts: 3377
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 12:19 pm
Real Name: David Brown
Location: Nordkapp, Norway
Has thanked: 52 times
Been thanked: 25 times

Re: Science teaching in the 50's

Post by sejintenej » Fri Jun 29, 2018 6:40 pm

Katharine wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:13 am
That was very true at Hertford too. I may have said it before, I left school with a place at Oxford for maths on a closed scholarship, a Queen's Guide and a DofE Gold Award holder yet was made to feel a failure as I was unmusical and not athletic.
A direct parallel at Horsham. I had the Queens Scout Award and D of E Gold but was refused permission to accept an "invitation" to meet the Duke of Edinburgh at Buck House. I suspect that Peter Hildrew (who had the same) also got the thumbs down.
I got an invitation from Copenhagen to work with Danish students in an international endeavour for three weeks during term time - permission refused.
I got an invitation to work abroad with young British and Swedes (there might have been a Norwegian or three also) at the end of my CH years - leaving a few days early all the masters and many others thought I was being expelled.

Obviously intended to and succeeded in conveying the feeling that I was a total failure.
‘So, still happy you voted for my namesake who took away your health insurance, raised your taxes and should turn out to be a mental patient?’

wurzel
Deputy Grecian
Posts: 350
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2007 1:59 pm
Real Name: Ian
Location: Reading
Has thanked: 4 times
Been thanked: 10 times

Re: Science teaching in the 50's

Post by wurzel » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:47 pm

my great grandfather was a lab assistant at CH in the 50's Laurie Sutherland - I have a picture of him in a lab somewhere, he used to also play cornet in a jazz/big band at the school

Post Reply