In February the School took 17 Lower Sixth pupils to Seattle, Washington to take part in the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. This is the largest science conference in the world, and brings together leading specialists in many aspects of scientific research.

Under the umbrella of this year’s theme, ‘Envisioning Tomorrow’s Earth’, pupils attended talks varying from monitoring climate change from space to the psychology behind the beauty within design.

On the Friday of the conference, we were treated to a one-hour plenary session with Bill Gates, who spoke about The Gates’ Foundation’s investment in technologies in AI and gene-based editing technologies that could be developed to build health solutions for malaria, sickle-cell disease and HIV.

Following the three-day conference, pupils explored the city, going both underground to visit the original Seattle streets, and rising above the buildings in the Space Needle. Beyond the city, pupils travelled out to the Boeing factory to observe the manufacture of the 747-800 and 777 Dreamliner aircraft.

As an added bonus, some were treated to a glimpse of the Northern Lights as they flew at 40,000 feet over northern Canada.