Last Friday 11 May, twelve Year 11 and 12 students represented CHAC at the 2018 Oxford Academy Conference in Brisbane. This conference is a Oxford University-affiliated one-day program for young people who are interested in ideas and able to make cross-disciplinary connections to aid their understanding of how the world operates. On the day, internationally-recognised presenters discussed issues ranging from the physics of sound to philosophical and scientific questions around the notion of post-mortem existence. The final session took the form of a Forum Debate involving student contributions from the floor of the auditorium.
Cordinator: Gifted and Enterprise Program
The Oxford Academy Conference was a thought-provoking event, featuring lectures from a gifted education specialist, an international athletics coach and a quantum physicist. The first lecture of the morning was on logic. It explored the concept of statements having factual value and the difference between facts and feelings. We were introduced to induction and deduction; two methods of logical reasoning that allow you to arrive at a statement of factual value. The lecture also gave insight into separating fact from fiction in a ‘post-truth’ society.
The second lecture, Building a gold medal mindset, came from a coach with years of experience in motivating high-level gold medal athletes. The presentation focussed on looking forward and not letting yourself be limited by the past. The next presentation was without doubt an interesting one, exploring the possibility of life after death and the different categories of thought on the concept of mind and matter. Particularly interesting was the case study where we looked into Pam Reynolds, a woman who claimed to have had a near death experience while in a state of clinical death.
Then came the Big Debate, which raised the question of whether the truth should always be told. Students were given an opportunity to contribute to the debate near the end of the session, and a vote revealed support heavily in favour of not always telling the truth.
The final lecture of the day was delivered by Dr Lewney, a quantum physicist from the United Kingdom who specialises in the physics of guitars and sound. He explored how sound works, how strings form sinusoidal curves when played, and how this all linked into string theory, which proposes that all matter is made up of tiny strings and their vibrations.
The Oxford Academy Conference was an enriching experience that not only taught useful skills, but also showed that school isn’t necessarily the limit to your learning and that there are a wide variety of concepts waiting to be explored.
Daniel Roy, Year 11