Honorary fellows: Professor Becky Parker
Langton Star Centre, Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys.
For her contributions to the field of physics education.
Becky Parker gained her bachelor’s degree at the University of Sussex and Master’s degree at the University of Chicago before returning the UK to begin her teaching career. She is currently Head of Physics at the Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys and Director of the Langton Star Centre.
The Langton Star Centre, developed by Parker, is a specialist facility with laboratories, classrooms and an astronomical observatory where students are given the opportunity to join collaborative astronomy and space projects, with the most prominent of these being the Langton Ultimate Cosmic Ray Intensity Detector (LUCID). She and her pupils work across regional and national boundaries, collaborating with NASA and ESA scientists and schools in the UK and elsewhere in the world.
Becky’s innovative and inspiring approach to teaching can be seen in the large number of students taking A level at Langton and through those going on to study physics and engineering at university; it is estimated that their pupils make up 1% of the national cohort of physics undergraduates. Girls join the school in the sixth form and it is estimated that around 2% of the cohort of female physicists at University come from the school.
Dr Parker has served on numerous committees and advisory boards, contributing to the wider physics community as well as the development of physics education. She has been Special Advisor to the House of Commons select committee on Science and Technology, a member of the PPARC public understanding of science and technology advisory panel and an advisor to the ‘Launchpad’ development team at the Science Museum as well being a member of the QCA A / AS level core development group and a member of the Education Committees of both the Royal Society and the Institute of Physics.
Dr Parker is also well known for her public engagement work having given numerous public lectures as well as appearing on TV and radio. She was awarded an MBE in 2008 for services to science and education.