Carbrooke school children learn the fun side of science from descendant of Nobel Prize winner

Children learned about the fun side of science during a creative workshop led by the granddaughter of a Nobel Prize winner.

The activities at St Peter and St Paul Primary School, Carbrooke, near Watton, on Wednesday were part of the Science Art and Writing (SAW) Trust project.

Based at the John Innes Centre in Norwich the SAW Trust teaches primary school children different aspects of science, including plant development and the effects of vitamin C on the body, with the help of artists, authors and scientists.

The trust was set up in 2005 by professor Anne Osbourn, from the centre, and since 2009 15 workshops have been carried out in schools across Norfolk.

During the Carbrooke session eight and nine year olds were taught about diabetes from Gerty Cori Ward, a science teacher from America.


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Her granddmother, Gerty Cori, was a biochemist who won the Nobel Prize with her husband Carl in 1947 at Stokholm, Sweeden, for 40 years of research into how sugar effects the body.

The scientist was born in Prague, in the Czech Republic, in 1896 and taught herself Latin to get into school when she was a teenager.

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She eventually got into medical school where she met her future husband in 1920.

Both scientists emigrated to Buffalo, in the American state of New York, in 1922 where they started their research.

That was followed by a move to St Louis, Missouri, where they finished their work at Washington University.

Mrs Cori Ward, from Durham in north America, who has a Phd in genetics, said: 'My grandfather would tell me Gerty was the scientific brain and he was the political brain.'

But her grandmother, who died in 1957 from a blood disorder, was only given the title of professor after winning the Nobel Prize.

She was featured on a stamp dedicated to American scientists created in 2008.

Activities during the Carbrooke workshop started with the youngsters testing out the sugar content of fake urine samples to find out which 'patient' had diabetes.

The children also had to write about people who inspired them and draw a stamp featuring that person. These included footballers, family members and teachers at the primary school.

Mrs Cori Ward said: 'Science explains how the world works in a rational way that even young children understand. In America a lot students get put off by science because they think it is too hard and mathematical.

'I think integrating it with art and writing makes it more accessible and makes people think of themselves as being able to accomplish things.'

She added that she was proud of her grandmother and the love of science had spread throughout the family as her twin sons, Carl and Fred, 19, were in their first year of a chemistry degree at Harvard University.

Dr Jenni Rant, project manager of the SAW Trust, said: 'The project makes people realise that science is for everybody. It stops children thinking they are not good at science.'

Shannon Osborne, nine, from Carbrooke, said: 'Today has been one of the best days at school.'

For more information about the SAW Trust, visit www.sawtrust.org

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