UofG supports quantum leap in high school teaching

Published: 26 November 2015

University experts are joining forces with local high school teachers to help Higher and Advanced Higher pupils understand more about quantum technology.

Experts from the University of Glasgow are joining forces with local high school teachers to help Higher and Advanced Higher pupils understand more about quantum technology.

A total of 21 teachers visited the University of Glasgow last week to meet researchers from the School of Physics and Astronomy and discuss the theory and application of quantum physics.

The event, organised in partnership with the Scottish Schools Education Research Centre (SSERC) and with funding from Research Councils UK (RCUK), will help teachers better understand current research in the field, including particle physics and photonics. The teachers will meet academics, discuss their work and take a tour of some of the University’s cutting-edge laboratories.

The University of Glasgow, which has a long history of expertise in quantum physics, was chosen last year to lead the UK’s quantum imaging innovation centre (QuantIC).

Funded as part of a £270m UK Government investment in quantum technology, QuantIC aims to bring cutting-edge quantum technology to the mass market through partnerships with major companies.

Professor Miles Padgett, Vice-Principal for Research at the University and co-principal investigator at QuantIC, led the event.

He said: “We’re really pleased to be working with teachers and the Scottish Schools Education Research Centre on this project. It’s fantastic that quantum physics is now being taught at Higher and Advanced Higher level in Scottish schools and we’re delighted to have the opportunity to offer teachers support to develop their own understanding of what remains a challenging topic.

“Scientists are increasingly looking to the quantum realm to develop new forms of technology. Clearly, offering a comprehensive grounding in quantum physics to young people in their studies will be increasingly important in keeping the UK technology sector competitive with the rest of the world, and the event will be a useful refresher for teachers from some of Scotland’s leading researchers.”

Gregor Steele, Head of Section, SSERC said, “I'm sure I speak for the whole physics teaching community in Scotland when I say we are extremely grateful for the way that world-class academics have been willing to engage with us to support the introduction of new, exciting content in schools.”

Plans are in place to maintain a relationship between the teachers who attend and the experts they meet from the University. Informally known as ‘Quantum Buddies’, the system will pair teachers with an expert who will provide follow-up contact to help keep the teachers informed of new developments.


First published: 26 November 2015