Worsley Science Centre

30 January 2017


Stowe’s new Science Centre was officially opened on Tuesday 24 January 2017 by the family of Henry Worsley the Polar explorer (and former pupil at Stowe) who died tragically on his solo attempt to cross the Antarctic last January. His wife, Joanna, and children Max and Alicia, joined with other members of their family, friends, donors to the science building, pupils and staff to mark the opening of this outstanding new facility. Boasting 18 laboratories, a Sixth Form Science Centre and six Lecture Theatres, the building has been named the Worsley Science Centre, in celebration of Henry’s life.

Henry was the only person to have completed the two classic routes of Shackleton, Scott and Amundsen to the South Pole in 2011-2012. On 24 January 2016, Henry died while attempting the first solo unsupported and unassisted crossing of the Antarctic landmass. He was just 30 miles from reaching his target.

On the first anniversary of Henry’s death, we were delighted that Ben Saunders, a leading Polar explorer and friend of Henry and his family, agreed to be our guest speaker. Ben spoke of his connection and friendship with Henry and of the late explorer’s kindness and generosity. Ben hinted that he hoped to return to Antarctica to finish Henry Worsley's solo and unsupported crossing of Antarctica, but this expedition is still in the planning stages.

After Ben’s inspiring speech, Joanna Worsley and her family opened the Worsley Science Centre and guests were able to view an exhibition of Henry’s Polar equipment and images from his adventures. Guests were also treated to a series of experiments, all conducted by pupils at Stowe. Dr Claire Guest, of the local charity Medical Detection Dogs gave a talk about their work and guests saw a trained detection dog in action. During the afternoon, guests were also given the opportunity to meet ‘Stowe’ a puppy that has been sponsored by our pupils’ fundraising efforts and that has just begun his training to be a Medical Detection Dog.

The day was a celebration of this wonderful new facility but also of Henry’s life, it was an inspiring day for all involved. Photos of the event can be seen here.