Physics teacher has formula for success

Bob Kibble. Picture: Gordon Fraser
Bob Kibble. Picture: Gordon Fraser
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A FORMER physics teacher has won an award for his contribution to science education.

Bob Kibble, 60, will be awarded the Bragg medal in London in November, which recognises elite educators and their achievements in the field.

He lectured at Edinburgh University, most recently working at Moray House, where he taught teachers, before he retired last year after almost 40 years in the classroom.

Nominated for his lifelong contribution, Bob said: “I am extremely proud and I feel humbled because I know there have been many outstanding people who have won this award in the past.

“I am aware that the physics community both in England and Scotland is very strong, and I am delighted to have won an award which recognises that sort of element of professional work.”

Bob has taught physics at all levels throughout his career, from primary school to university, but is keen to emphasise he is not a physicist.

He said: “I wouldn’t call myself a physicist at all.

“After my first degree [in physics], I moved into a new field that was more exciting to me, and that was called physics education, and science education, and that is a very different area of work.

“The research in physics education and science education is about teaching and learning and ideas, as opposed to the cutting edge professional physics.”

Having been educated in London, Bob taught in the city’s schools and colleges for 22 years, before moving to Edinburgh in 1997.

Bob’s award citation said: “In the past four decades, few have made greater contributions to physics education than Bob Kibble. He has substantially widened its congregation, both through his graduates and personally.”

It went on to say he always worked “selflessly”, and attributed many of his students’ successes to the “firm foundation” Bob’s teaching provided.

Throughout his career, Bob has taught thousands of people, including putting on specialist classes to help teachers gain a more in-depth knowledge of the subject.

The £1,000 award was first handed out in 1967 after its introduction by the Council of the Institute of Physics and The Physical Society.

It was named after the renowned scientist Lawrence Bragg. 
When looking back on his career, Bob was unable to pick out a specific highlight, but instead cited many proud moments.

He said: “One of the great memories that I’ll keep will be of the postgraduate graduation ceremony at McEwen Hall each year, where all the undergraduates and postgraduates receive their degrees.

“That is one of the proudest moments that I will look back on. I was very fortunate to go on stage to applaud and celebrate their achievements.”