St Albans teacher inspired by Stephen Hawking wins physics award

Herts Advertiser archive: A young Stephen Hawking

Herts Advertiser archive: A young Stephen Hawking - Credit: Archant

An inspirational physics teacher who tells pupils that they may turn out “to be the Stephen Hawking of their generation” has received an award for his outstanding work.

St Albans School teacher Martin Guy has won an Institute of Physics award for outstanding teaching.

St Albans School teacher Martin Guy has won an Institute of Physics award for outstanding teaching. Photo supplied - Credit: Photo supplied

Martin Guy, from St Albans School, is one of six teachers in the UK to receive a 2016 Teachers of Physics Award from the Institute of Physics (IOP) for his outstanding work teaching the subject. He will collect the gong, and a £300 cheque, at an IOP award dinner next month.

He was nominated by his colleagues after the Abbey Gateway school achieved a record number of students progressing to study A-Level physics.

Martin has also supported his pupils in a dedicated science society, known as the ‘Stephen Hawking Society’. Hawking, a former St Albans School pupil, has returned to the institution to speak to students and many others in the district.

He told the Herts Advertiser: “Stephen Hawking is, perhaps, the most famous living physicist in the world and an inspirational figure for the whole school.

“I tell my students that one or more of them may well turn out to be the Stephen Hawking of their generation. Some of them think I am joking, but I am serious; great challenges face the next generations and they will have to use all their ingenuity, knowledge humanity and skill to find solutions.”

Martin said that the Stephen Hawking Society brought practising scientists into the school to speak face-to-face about their work to students.

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He added: “We have been lucky to attract a wide range of speakers from universities, industry and the media, including television presenters and Nobel Prize winners. Their enthusiasm, insights and passion for their work has brought science to life and helped many of our students to see beyond the limits of ‘classroom science’ and aspire to follow in their footsteps.”

Mark Davies, deputy head, academic, explained that the traits which had helped Martin gain the award were his “tremendous leadership of the department” supported by a team of top teachers in their field, and his “significant experience from both academia and industry”.

This had enabled him to “teach first-hand how valuable physics is in the outside world and how exciting its possibilities can be. The department, under Martin, has inspired a large number of students to study engineering and physics at university,” he added.

The school’s headmaster, Jonathan Gillespie, said: “To be seen as one of the best six teachers in your field is a superb achievement and one that we are all incredibly proud of.”