A NOBEL prizewinner has inspired science students during a visit to his former school.

Professor Sir John Walker visited Rastrick High School yesterday after head girl Gurpreet Bhogal wrote to invite him to the school’s science department.

Sir John talked to the students about his studies and career, which saw him scoop the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1997 – and he passed advice on to them.

The academic is an old boy of Rastrick Grammar School, which later became Rastrick High School.

John Garratt, an A-level chemistry teacher and careers co-ordinator at the school, who is also an old boy of Rastrick Grammar School, said: “It’s fantastic that our students can get to meet such an eminent scientist.

“My Year 11 triple science students thought I was joking when I offered them the opportunity to meet a Nobel Prize winner if they did well in their modular science examinations.

“I hope that it inspires them to go on to choose careers in science and engineering as our country desperately needs them.”

Sir John was welcomed by headteacher Helen Lennie and head girl Gurpreet Bhogal who, on behalf of fellow students, wrote the letter inviting him to the school.

Sir John had lunch with a small group of staff and students in the new Technology Centre, followed by an informal discussion with Sixth Form science students.

During his visit he talked to the school’s Year 10 and 11 triple science students about his work, why they should aspire to study science, about careers in science and what it is like to studying at Cambridge University.


Professor Sir John Walker FRS is an old boy of Rastrick Grammar School.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1997 for his work on the enzymatic mechanism underlying the synthesis of ATP (adenosine triphosphate – defined by the academic as the energy currency of life).

Sir John was knighted in 1999 for services to molecular biology.

He is currently Director of MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit at Cambridge University.