Name: Paul Cook
Job Title: Senior Lead Technician
Organisation: Ark Burlington Danes Academy
Years of Experience: 20+ years
What’s the most enjoyable part of your job?
Preparing successful practicals – trailing new demonstrations and making new resources.
I love presenting demonstrations or outreach activities particularly for primary students to help inspire them with practical, visual science. They are so enthusiastic and get so excited when they see us in our white coats “the scientists are here”. After a presentation I’ve had several students ask if I’m a sorcerer.
Making videos to share on social media, helping to raise the profile of secondary science technicians and the amazing work they do.
I really enjoy the technician CPD workshops “physics for non-specialists” I present , helping other technicians improve their confidence in using and setting up physics resources.
What practical do you enjoy doing most?
Any that inspires the students and helps them visualize the theoretical concepts.
I prepare the A-level required practicals across all three subjects, technically they are the ones that allow us to demonstrate our knowledge and expertise, especially when the students get great results!
One of my favourite physics demonstrations is the “Pearl Drop” using a stroboscope.
There are so many “Old School” demonstrations and practicals that work superbly well but aren’t done too often now.
If you had one bit of advice for someone looking to get into your professions what would it be?
Ask questions…take your time and don’t expect to know it all instantly…be kind on yourself and keep safe. Common sense and being organised will help a lot.
Make sure you know about CLEAPSS and reference all their excellent guidance, resources and documents.
Join the “School Science Technicians” Facebook group – where thousands of technicians new and experienced can offer help and advice in real time.
Join Preproom.org too.
Attend as many Technician CPD training workshops or courses as you can. There are some excellent ones for new to the role technicians.
If you are a lone technician – reach out to local schools and technician networks.
Get to know your science suppliers and their reps for example VITTA education and #LaBLiFe
I am happy to help with any questions or offer any advice I can…feel free to contact me.
Who’s your favourite scientist and why?
A genius who was so far ahead of his time.
He produced a huge catalogue of significant designs and patents that have so far all proved viable and are in devices we use in everyday life. Some new technologies only now being introduced are based on Tesla’s ideas or thinking E.G (Wireless Power Transfer)
One project was his “World Wireless System” where he envisaged global power transmission….providing power to all.
When Nikola Tesla sadly passed away, some of his patents were so advanced that they were seized and are held by American government authorities.
What is something only a few people know about you?
I was an award winning baker.
I’m a 2nd Dan black belt in Karate.
I sang in a boys choir that regularly performed in all the large London venues and recorded several times at Abbey Road studios.
What is it about your industry that inspires you?
Science technicians are the ones who make practical science happen.
We can directly inspire students with practical demonstrations and activities – they might understand the theory by something they see us do or we have prepared. It might inspire them to learn more about science into adult life or follow a scientific career.
Science is amazing in so many different ways!!
Technicians are now often the practical experts/ advisors in a modern secondary science departments and often the ones offering practical guidance, training and advice to teachers.