Visit to York Union

Robert visited York Union for a Q&A with students covering a range of topics from his work in IVF to his views on mitochondrial transfer.  To read full coverage of the evening, see the student newspaper, Nouse.

Professor Winston opens a new special school

TCES Fresh Start in Witham Essex was opened last term by Professor Robert Winston. The school caters for children with Autism, Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs and other special educational needs.

Trinity Mirror “Huddle”

Robert joined a Mirror “Huddle” to explain to attendees how they could unleash their creative minds.

The Mirror covered the event live on its website and on Twitter!

Visit to Birmingham

Following the award of an honorary degree at Birmingham City University in September, Professor Winston visits the Birmingham Women’s Hospital where he will address staff and students on the subject of fertility and genetics.  He will then visit the Birmingham Conservatoire to meet with staff and students.

Honorary Degree, Birmingham City University

On 2 September Professor Winston travelled to Birmingham to receive an Honorary Degree from Birmingham City University.

Speaking of the award, Professor Winston said: “In accepting an honorary degree at Birmingham City University, I am greatly privileged. This large university’s important commitment to education – not only for its own students in so many subjects, but for training students who will improve education at all ages including early years – is very dear to my heart. Institutions like this make a massive difference to our society and to the welfare of the next generation.”

Top toys to take on a plane this summer

Robert Winston teamed up with British Airways to find out which toys would keep children most amused in-flight.

  1. 86 per cent of parents struggle to keep their kids occupied on plane journeys
  2. British Airways Holidays conducts social experiment, led by Professor Robert Winston, to find the top toys to take a plane
  3. Parents and experts say ditch the iPad and give youngsters Play-Doh and Loom Bands instead

School’s out for most of the country this week and ahead of the great family getaway British Airways Holidays surveyed parents to understand their travel worries and discover the top toys to take on a plane.

British Airways found the biggest concern parents had when flying with their youngsters was keeping them entertained, with 60 per cent of parents revealing they were unable to keep their child occupied for longer than 30 minutes.

The airline conducted a social experiment, placing 30 youngsters on a flight for two hours with a selection of toys. The children, aged two to 10, were given 90 minutes playtime and observed by scientist Robert Winston and a team of educational psychologists. To view a video of the experiment visit:

The surprising findings revealed that it was actually the cheapest toys that kept the children occupied for the longest. Play-Doh and toy-of-the-moment Loom Bands topped the list with 80 per cent of children and 70 per cent of parents saying they would take these on a flight in the future. Both toys, costing just 74 pence and £1.99 respectively*, kept more than half of the children occupied for longer than 40 minutes.

The most popular toy among two to five year olds was Play-Doh, while Loom Bands were a firm favourite with the five to 10 year olds. Timeless classics such as Lego and Top Trump cards also scored highly with this age group; keeping them entertained for an average of 37 and 33 minutes respectively.

Professor Winston, said: “Although the temptation is for parents to play a film in the hope that their child falls asleep, activity based toys, such as lego, sticker books and travel games are also a great way to keep them engaged. Bringing out a different toy at regular intervals is guaranteed to keep them quiet for longer than 90 minutes.”

In the poll of 2,000 people a quarter of those surveyed said they worried about their children disturbing other passengers, while more than half were nervous about disrupting their youngster’s sleeping pattern.

Dr Vivian Hill, educational psychologist from the Institute of Education, said: “Toys that spark the imagination and encourage creativity, rather than static toys like soft toys and dolls, are proven to keep children occupied for sustained periods.”

Ian Ellis, toys buyer at John Lewis, said: “Loom bands have been hugely popular. We started selling them at John Lewis a couple of months ago and in the last few weeks we have really seen them take off. It has been such a big playground phenomenon with children wanting the newest colours and sets, we will be introducing more to our range as the trend continues.”

British Airways top ten toys to take on a plane:

1)      Loom Bands

2)      Playdoh

3)      Lego

4)      Top Trumps

5)      Uno

6)      Usborne Activity Cards

7)      Magnetic travel game

8)      Aquadoodle!

9)      Finger puppets

10)   Sticker book

Dr Vivian Hill shares her top tips for a stress free flight with children:

  1. Have drinks to hand they can sip on for take off and landing so they don’t concentrate on the air pressure; which can affect children more than adults
  2. Buy new toys and games for the flight as newer toys entertain them for longer
  3. Bring out different toys at regular intervals. Wrapping them and giving them as presents works really well
  4. Concentrate on packing activities as opposed to static objects such as dolls and cuddly toys
  5. Think of games with extended play. Finger puppets and activity cards are both toys that can be drawn out to last a lot longer
  6. Think about games that you don’t need to carry. Verbal games like I Spy and Twenty Questions are good ways to pass the flight time
  7. If it’s an evening or night flight take pyjamas. Getting children ready for bed will help avoid disrupting their sleep pattern

Scientists contribute to Time Out’s top 100 sci-fi movies

Robert Winston, amongst other scientists, sci-fi experts, filmmakers, critics and writers pick their favourite science fiction films for Time Out.

See Robert Winston’s contributions here

  • The Lost World (Hoyt 1925)
  • Alien (Scott 1979)
  • 2001 A Space Odyssey (Kubrick 1968)
  • Metropolis (Lang 1927)
  • Mars Attacks (Burton 1996)
  • Men In Black (Sonnenfeld 1997)
  • Gattaca (Niccol 1997)
  • The Golem (Wegener 1920)
  • Nosferatu (Herzog 1979)
  • Fahrenheit 451 (Truffaut 1966)

What do you think? Click Here for the full Time Out article and top 100 to see where Robert’s choices came in the line up.

Royal Society, New Zealand

Robert Winston delivers a lecture at the Royal Society in Wellington, new Zealand. This event is supported by the University of Otago. Professor Winston will explore the boundaries of art and science in his talk ‘Where does Science end and Art begin?’