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Vanessa Cheel

BSc, DPhil

Subject: Physics

My life is driven by a passion for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and sharing it. Why study STEM?  I‘d like to share my answers with you and to show you how much you know already. It’s probably more than you think. And I want to help you achieve the exam grades you need to move ahead.

School was boring, but I didn’t realise it at the time. From A Levels at school I moved on to Engineering and Materials Sciences at university. At that point my world opened up. Engineering is real world! Science matters! My subject choice was in answer to the question ‘what can one do with A Levels in Physics, Maths & Chemistry?’ The answer, even now, is ‘almost anything’.

I did my doctorate in the Materials Department at Oxford University, funded by an international research institute in France. After a spell in industrial research I returned to university. I also started teaching, initially supporting girls who were uncomfortable being the minority in GCSE physics classes. I followed this by teaching A Levels, and Maths, and ever since I’ve mixed research and teaching.

My teaching has been at all levels from pre-school through secondary school, college and university.  I’ve been head of department in three secondary schools;  delivered courses on cutting edge technology for FE colleges: and home educated children in Science, Maths and other subjects.

My ‘other hat’ is materials characterisation covering a 2500 year time span.  This includes 21stC materials for high-tech applications and metallurgy of archaeological artefacts.

Oxford is a cycling city, and I cycle almost everywhere, share a custom made tandem, swim and love walking too. My less active interests include DIY, non-curriculum science activities, history and handicrafts. I’ll try anything once.

I enjoy meeting people.  I’ve learned by working with enthusiastic scientists and engineers of many nationalities. And I want to show you that science is interesting, stimulating and fun.  It has always triggered my love of investigation, finding solutions, sharing and exploring ideas (= teaching).

Inquisitiveness is one of the things that makes us what we are. If I haven’t an instant answer to your question, I’ll help you find it. Just ask!

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