The Alleynian 704 2016

THE ALLEYNIAN no .704 | 2016

T he Alleynian is no ordinary school magazine. As readers can tell from the number above, it has had a long history; not all will be aware, though, of the very different incarnations seen during this time. About 20 years ago, what seems like every aspect of College life was meticulously recorded in a hardback book. Looking even further back, The Alleynian was more of a student newspaper, packed with thoughts and opinions that must have seemed ephemeral it the time, but which now provide fascinating insights into the experiences of Dulwich boys. Now, in an era of electronic media and repositories of information, what should The Alleynian look like? What should it aspire to document? Well, we think it should look something like this – the publication that you are holding in your hands. The changes that you see to this issue are the result of thinking by the Editorial Committee about The Alleynian ’s purpose, size and format. We are all keen that it reflects the experience of Alleynians, of both life at the College and in the world beyond. It must also document – or attempt, at least, to record – something of the extraordinary variety of activities boys undertake at Dulwich, and that give this school its uniquely rich and stimulating environment. We arrived at a publication that feels more like a journal, perhaps a reflection rather than a record, but one that hopes to represent the Dulwich experience both broadly and in depth and that, above all, communicates what it is like to work, explore and learn at Dulwich College in 2016. The cover, and with it our main articles, rightly focuses on Dulwich Inventive: a week where boys’ imagination was fired by scientific understanding and experiment; where the whole College was involved in myriad workshops, seminars, practicals and events. But we also explore something that has dominated in and beyond the College this year: politics. The Editorial Committee was struck by how much events around the world have inspired debate amongst Alleynians – in the Upper School Common Room; in the lunch hall; on social media. ‘The Alleynian Politics Debate’, a discussion between several boys, all in their final year Dulwich, all of whom have varying political views that are well known to their peers, mirrors the conversations that have been going on informally around the campus. Also included are important reflections by pupils who have been undertaking work in foodbanks as part of the College’s Community Service programme; a report on the significant work of this year’s Senior Prefects; an interview with an OA (something we hope to replicate every issue); an insight into some of the expeditions that have taken place in the past year; reviews of art, music and drama; a feature on the continued success of Dulwich’s debaters; some opinion pieces by up-and-coming student journalists and writers; even a timely investigation into the mysterious contents of the DC Clock Tower. On behalf of everyone who has been involved in producing it, we hope you enjoy this issue of The Alleynian and that it gives you some of the insights we claim above. We would welcome any feedback and thoughts on how the magazine can continue to evolve.

Staff editor Rory Fisher Staff team

Nathalie Coppin Colm Ó Siochrú Mary Jo Doherty Senior Prefects for the Creative Arts and student editors Hamish Lloyd Barnes Zach Fox Editorial Committee Charlie Scoular Dan Norton-Smith

Shehzore Adil Matthew Verri Ben Tudor Marko Marsenic Barnaby Mills Aidan Williams Staff Section editors Art: Robert Mills Drama: Kathryn Norton-Smith

Music: Jemima Lofts Sport: Phil Greenaway Photography Efforts have been made to credit photographers where possible; The Alleynian team would like to thank anyone whose photographs have not been specifically credited, particularly Maggie Jarman, Deborah Field and Mary Jo Doherty Design and Layout Nicholas Wood

Proofreader Zoë Folbigg

Printing Cantate

With thanks to: Joseph Spence, for his continuing encouragement and support; Simon Northcote-Green; Richard Sutton; Maggie Jarman; Deborah Field; Sally Gatley and Kate Bridgman; Victoria Joseph; and all our contributors, particularly our section editors Cover The covers show images generated during Dulwich Inventive. On the front cover is an image derived from a petri dish containing bacteria. Several of these were created in an experiment by Year 9 pupils, who grew the bacteria from swabs taken in different locations across the College, and each copy of The Alleynian features one of four different dishes. The back cover shows an installation inspired by cells, and on the inside covers are versions of ‘spin paintings’ created by pupils at DUCKS

Rory Fisher, Hamish Lloyd Barnes and Zach Fox


Be prepared (to be laughed at) – Dan Norton-Smith Happy flying! – Mitchell Simmonds Rationality and resurrection – Jonathan Wolstenholme End the age of anxiety – Sam Warren-Miell Tests under examination – Kamil Aftyka ARTICLES & REPORTS

Dulwich Inventive week The Weizmann Competition Slave to the algorithm: code-breaking past and cryptography future STEM Day NASA Night Trip to CERN DULWICH INVENTIVE: SCIENCE AND IMAGINATION AT DULWICH 18-32


The Alleynian Politics Debate Behind the rise of the keyboard politician Teachers as researchers: global citizenship at Dulwich


Saturday School Foodbanks: facing the reality of Britain’s poverty City Heights: life as an OA classroom assistant Report on the work of the Senior Prefects


Power of speech: a year of debating success Captain’s log – leading Team England OA debaters – an interview

What’s happening at DCTV Chaplaincy report Spotlight on design AROUND DULWICH 53-56

59-60 57-58


FREE LEARNING Us & Them: the Upper School Symposium

Faheem Ahmed OA INTERVIEW 61-63



CCF 73-75

Stok Kangri East Africa Iceland Vienna and Budapest

CCF Arctic Survival RAF Air Squadron Trophy Competition


Gold Award Assessment Expedition





HOUSE POETRY COMPETITION WINNERS ART gallery sixteen The year in Art St Ives Year 10 Art Residential



REVIEWS 105-119

House Drama

Upper School Middle School Lower School

A2 devised drama AS text adaptations The White Road The Playhouse Apprentice



The Joint Foundation Schools Concert Review: Winter Concert, St John Smith’s Square

House Music: the blessing and curse of organising an entry House Electric Music competition: photographs by Ed Reid The Composition Competition Learning to love the piano: Alasdair Howell, Year 6



Rugby Cricket: South Africa tour

Rowing Hockey

Basketball Swimming Water Polo


An interview with the Deputy Master External


Be prepared*

Dan Norton-Smith (Year 12)

Scouts may be derided by some, but the activities on offer should be taken seriously

*to be laughed at


I remember back in Year 6 being excited – exhilarated – to join the Scouts. Partly, it was the knowledge that most of my friends would be doing it. Perhaps even more important was the elaborate, subconscious image of scouting I had conjured in my mind. I saw a warm, wooden shack, devotees of duty huddled around tables completing badges, hot cups of tea sustaining us. This fantastical illusion was quickly, cruelly shattered. At 6.30pm on a cold Friday evening in October, I turned up, fresh-faced and flushed with enthusiasm, to the distinctly unromantic setting of the upstairs room of the PE Centre. Tea and quiet camaraderie? Hardly. Anarchy prevailed. Green-shirted boys ran wild in a frothing, Fanta-fuelled frenzy. I was shocked. This was no cosy woodland hut, built from scratch by a charming band of youths with wholesome 1930s smiles. I had entered a nightmare. Suddenly, a loud cry: ‘Fall in!’ A rush of movement left me dazed, disorientated, and alone in the middle of the room. Brusquely, I was shunted about and pushed to the edge of the room, joining a crusade semi- circle of scruffy boys. The events of the evening continued with similar disarray and I left disheartened. The true scout, though, is a stoic. Through sheer dogged determination, I persevered, attending every subsequent meeting that I could. By the end of my first term, I had been invested, and was awarded my first badge. So what had happened since that fateful first meeting? Why – how – had I persevered? This takes us to the very heart of what scouting teaches: to put it bluntly, how to fend for yourself. One advantage of being thrown summarily into the deep-end is that one soon learns to join in, to participate in activities in order to have as much fun as the people around you.

As a member of the Dulwich Scouts for nearly six years, I have been able to see the group evolve into two separate troops, each making use of a new scout hut in the Trevor Bailey Sports Centre. With these structural changes came alterations in atmosphere. But although the mood is calmer – dare I say more controlled – I still see the sense of the mischief that I experienced as a ten-year-old. And there are just as many opportunities for structured naughtiness. Last year, there were 1,273 combined nights away for those involved with the Dulwich Explorer group and both troops: I challenge any reader to find another local club with such opportunities. During my time I have been up and down the country hill-walking, mountain-climbing, wood-chopping, and billhook-wielding; getting muddy, getting wet, getting food, pony-trekking, sailing – the possibilities are seemingly boundless. Indeed, it is through the Scouts that I found a new love – the unorthodox ‘sport’ of caving. A weekend option turned a throwaway decision into a passion and now I have even been invited to join the Greater London South Caving Committee. This happens a lot: a chance weekend away ignites a subdued spark within you, leading first to experience, then expertise. Consider the Service Team, dedicated to looking after the Broadstone Warren site in East Grinstead, a place that has remained central to the Dulwich Scouts over the many years of service. There is an enormous sense of fulfilment to be found in hours spent hacking at rhododendron; and chopping wood not only allows access to some exciting weaponry, but also facilitates site access for the general public. This energy, channelled into something so genuinely helpful to the local community, always seems to justify the aches and pains of the day after.


Finally, there are the amazing, once-in-a-lifetime international trips, usually aimed at Years 11-13. In 2014, I was lucky enough to find myself on an expedition to Tanzania, a three-week tour of villages, schools, and natural wonders. It sounds like a cliché, but this really was a life- changing experience. Encountering this fabled part of the world proved immensely valuable – and provocative. It has helped me to realise that there is more to life than exams, grades and the dreaded world of employment. In fact, I plan to return to Tanzania during my gap year to work with the tour company that we used that is run (by chance) an OA and an ex-Scout. But first, let me return to where I began. I am now a Young Leader. I now catch glimpses of nervousness in new members bewildered by the unfamiliar. And I know that not all will respond as I did. Scouting isn’t for everyone: if the new recruit hasn’t acclimatised by, say, the fourth meeting, his future likely hangs in the balance. But to those teetering on the edge, I ask this: how do you truly know if you’ll enjoy it or not, if you don’t get stuck in? Think of the opportunities, facilities, and friendships; the sense of purpose, the achievable goals…What’s not to like? And the uniform is rather fetching, too…



Happy flying! Last year saw more commercial aviation casualties than the previous four years combined. Is flying quite as safe as we think? Mitchell Simmonds (Year 11)

T here are a number of possible causes of crashes, but the good news is that airlines and aircraft manufacturers are working hard to decrease that number. The first cause that many investigators examine is that of pilot error. Therefore, it makes sense to examine the training of a pilot – is it rigorous enough to ensure mistakes are avoided? In addition to passing numerous medical and aptitude tests, a new pilot will begin by learning to fly basic aircraft as well as being tested on ‘upset recovery’ – the procedures for recovering from abnormal situations such as stalls, low speed and other problems. But that’s just the start: next the pilot will sit 14 written exams followed by a practical flying test, and then train in a Level D flight simulator, which, inside at least, looks identical to a real a cockpit identically. To make things especially tricky, an instructor can change the airport or

weather conditions and introduce a system failure or aircraft malfunction at any point during the flight. Still the pilot is not ready, however. Following training in the simulator, pilots have to undergo the most exacting test: a ‘checkride.’ Here, they are given a standard flight to fly, but the examiner may initiate any emergency, causing one or several failures of the aircraft. The pilot, unaware of what will occur, must deal with the situation and make a decision within seconds. He or she will carry out the necessary checklists and procedures before safely landing the aircraft – there might be no visibility, a complete autopilot failure, and no engines working. After passing this exam, our pilot is now more than ready to fly real aircraft. However, every six months their licence is frozen whilst they undergo another checkride and a medical examination. Furthermore, modern day aircraft such as the Airbus A380 have systems to


Illustrations by Finbar Kelly (Year 12)

prevent the pilot from committing an error. If the wrong button is pushed, or a switch flicked that could put the aircraft at risk, it will simply not react and sound a (very) loud siren instead. Thus pilot error is extremely unlikely. But there are other potential dangers: what about hijacking? Here, too, precautionary measures are well developed. In addition to extensive airport security, American pilots flying domestically carry firearms and there are approximately three separate locks on the cockpit door. There are now also hidden CCTV cameras in the cabin that feed footage to the cockpit, so that the captain is able to view what is happening behind the cockpit door. It is true that in March 2015, Andreas Lubitz, a co-pilot flying for the Germanwings airline, used this to lock his colleague out of the cockpit and crash the airplane, killing himself, all 144 passengers and the six crew. It emerged that Lubitz suffered from suicidal tendencies that he had concealed from his employer; since then, airlines have stepped up tests to ensure pilots cope with the mental strain that flying can put upon them. A final cause worth considering is less controllable: flying is constantly at the mercy of the weather.

Again, preparation and procedures are key to combat the unforeseen. Flight deck crew will always plan diversion airfields and will constantly monitor the weather. Pilots have weather radars on board and are always in contact with air traffic control to negotiate alternative routes if necessary. Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, pilots are trained to fly using the plane’s instruments and land in zero visibility. Air traffic control work with the pilots to provide a safe and smooth landing – newer aircraft can touch down in anything from snowstorms to monsoons without any difficulty. Feeling reassured? Despite high profile crashes in the past twelve months, including that of the still unlocated MH370 or the more recent EgyptAirMS804, when the casualties are added up, the year has been a relatively safe one. In 2014 there were 1,021 casualties, So, although the amount of losses is still too high, it is decreasing thanks to modern technology. Finally, if you do feel a little jittery as your flight taxis up the runway, just remind yourself that the probability of dying in a plane crash is a consoling 1 in 5,371,369. thankfully considerably fewer than the 2,370 deaths in 1972, still the worst year in aviation.

Mitchell is President of the Dulwich College Aviation Society



Rationality and resurrection

We should reconsider the facts of the Easter story Jonathan Wolstenholme (Year 13)

E aster. chocolate, bunnies, eggs, cake, family. A smaller, springtime version of our sentimentalised – and commercialised – Christmas. the Bible-thumpers banging on about Jesus. But as the story centres not on a cute baby in a manger, but the unscientific absurdity of a man rising from the dead, we can more easily ignore the myth-mongers, and tuck into our next mini-egg. No one believes in the Easter We must still, of course, endure Easter is when Christians remember the resurrection, the fundamental fact of our faith. If Jesus did not rise, our evidence supporting his claim to be the son of God is thrown out. The apostle Paul spelt out the consequences of this in his first epistle to the fledgling Christian community at Corinth, later captured in the wonderful hymn of the London-based Anglican priest, GR Woodward: ‘Had Christ, that once was slain, ne’er burst his three day bunny. Surely no one actually believes in the resurrection? I do.

and death in order to spread a lie they didn’t believe? Yet these disciples of Jesus, poor Galilean fishermen with nothing to gain and everything to lose, proved willing to testify unto martyrdom to Christ’s resurrection. To me, that also seems pretty incredible. Alleynians: heed what your truly liberal education teaches. Consider the evidence, without predetermining the conclusion. Too many ignore inconvenient evidence because it might lead them to uncomfortable conclusions. Instead, they indulge in the fiction that Christianity – indeed, any faith other than our secular ‘norm’ – must be, by definition, fact-free. What evidence, then, can I offer? Can you take any of it seriously? Am I about to brandish my Bible? As it happens, I believe that a great deal of the accounts of the man Jesus given in the New Testament are reliable. So do most serious biblical scholars. But we needn’t dwell only on the dusty testimony of texts. History makes its case. ‘The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church’, argued Tertullian in his second-century treatise, Apologeticus . From their graves sprung a living community, a civilisation, millennia of art and culture. From

prison, / our faith had been in vain; but now hath Christ arisen’. For Paul, ‘if Christ be not risen’, man lay ‘yet in sin’; he might ‘eat and drink’ his fill of this world, ‘for tomorrow we die’, with no hope of eternal life. On Easter Sunday, Christians greet each other triumphantly, proclaiming: ‘Christ is risen’ – ‘he is risen indeed’. For me, Easter is about much more than eating our fill of chocolate; it concerns the events around which I try to base all my actions. But how can I have so much confidence in this resurrection? Unlike the credulous of 2,000 years ago, we know that people don’t come back from the dead – that we needn’t believe anything we hear – don’t we? It’s easy to sneer. But it’s totally unfair to assume that people extraordinary. Many contemporaries vehemently denied the resurrection, including the Jewish authorities who demanded Jesus’ crucifixion. It’s also strange to assume that those who radically changed their lives on the basis of an encounter with the risen Christ would have made those changes had they not experienced what they did. And who exactly would suffer torture 2,000 years ago just jumped at any opportunity to believe the


Illustration by William Cook (Year 10)

their death, new life: resurrection. Philosophy can be even-handed, even favourable. Eminent philosophers as resolutely atheist as Antony Flew (1923-2010), the Dawkins of his day, moved in later life towards some sort of theism, and claimed that ‘the evidence for the resurrection is better than for claimed miracles in any other religion’. We return, as John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford, reminded an audience at Alleyn’s earlier this term, to these points: Jesus died and was buried; the tomb was found empty; On this, the majority of biblical scholars, Christian and non-Christian alike, agree – despite the apparently impossible implications, and the reductive attempts to explain it dozens of eyewitnesses claim to have seen him alive afterwards.

away as a group-hallucination of depressed and feverish imaginations. It may seem impossible for someone to rise from the dead. If, like Dawkins, you chose unscientifically to view the question with the presupposition that it is impossible for God to exist and for miracles to happen, it will continue to seem impossible. But the body of evidence should check scientific dogmas. What happened to Jesus? This is a question that matters deeply to me, and to my Christian brothers and sisters. It is the kernel of our faith. It is probably the most significant question differentiating the otherwise-similar Abrahamic religions. And it is a litmus test of what we moderns mean when we look for ‘evidence’ and argue ‘rationally’.



Illustration by William Joynson (Year 10)




End the age of anxiety The modern world is driving us to despair and nihilism. We must do something about it Sam Warren-Miell (Year 13)

I t is perhaps uncontroversial to suggest that the dominant mood of our age is one of anxiety. But why is this? First, the omnipresence of surveillance: who could say that they were genuinely surprised by recent revelations about the intrusive snooping of GCHQ? Secondly, job security is far lower now than in the post-war era, with the proliferation of zero-hours contracts meaning that a significant proportion of the workforce operates at the behest of employers, deprived of the rights won by previous generations of organised labour. Thirdly, most teenagers feel the pressure of constant communication. The pervasiveness of social media

presents a psychologically uneasy choice: being constantly available, or being sealed-off from the community. Fourthly, competition rules – whether for status or employment. Call-centre workers feel the anxiety of meeting sales quotas; corporate lawyers work 16-hour days to maintain their place at the top; the intensely exam-based structure of schooling means that, from a young age, children are brought up to regard themselves as in competition with their peers, a competition often extrapolated to the job market. Behind all this, individualism is affirmed as the only mode of being – and attempts to communalise in resistance to this ideology are

obstructed by what Althusser called ‘Repressive State Apparatuses’. (Grime gigs, for example, are often shut down in advance and under specious pretexts by the Metropolitan Police.) The effect of this on mental health is clear: about 10 per cent of UK adults take anti-depressants. But setting even statistics aside, most of us would surely agree that we live in an anxious world. In a perverse response, governments valorise security, national or economic. Such attempts to reframe the causes of anxiety as their solution always fail: tightened national security leads to fear and to the marginalisation of the ‘enemy within’; moves towards ‘economic security’ do nothing, in material terms, but further deprive the



East requires Western control. The economist Thomas Piketty forecasts a return to Victorian levels of wealth inequality; areas of extreme poverty and unemployment are found within the most developed nations. Young people throughout Europe, submerged in nihilistic despair, turn to extremism – the consequence of being brought up to believe that there is nothing other than the pursuit of individual satisfaction; the consequence of being brought up to live without an idea. We are in the position of those who were tasked, in previous generations, with formulating a new emancipatory politics. We must mobilise our experiences of truths elsewhere in life – in science, the determination to investigate, analyse, and achieve a result; in art, the creative construction of something outside the fixed logic of the situation; even in love, the ability to conceive of the world from the point of view of ‘the two’ of amorous life instead of ‘the one’ of vulgar individualism. We can be militant in refusing the injunction to live without an idea, to live the life that is nothing more than ‘the seeming of a life’. We can reconstitute a different form of politics. We can, and so we must.

poor and sick of what little support they receive. (Apparently, we cannot afford a strong economy – but we can always afford to go to war.) What of the wider cultural response? Firstly, one is told to treat anxiety and its effects under the rubric of ‘management’: anger management, time management, and so on. Thus is mental health subordinated to individual responsibility and the language of the workplace: constantly managing, constantly being managed. One is informed that anxiety can be addressed through the so-called ‘power of positive thinking’, or – very fashionable now – ‘mindfulness’. It is as if the causes of anxiety could be imagined away. Secondly, the idea of a collective emancipatory politics is subordinated to the discrete struggles of competing demographics. The notion of class struggle has been dissolved under the name of ‘intersectionality’ into a myriad of competing, identitarian concerns. The public face of feminism, much to the frustration of an older generation of feminists, has turned to ‘representation’ and empty bourgeois sloganeering – ‘feel good about yourself!’ – resiling from collective efforts to redress socio-economic imbalances.

How do we respond? I should like to focus on two statements of the French philosopher, Alain Badiou. The first: ‘It’s a choice between happiness and satisfaction’. We must reject ‘the seeming of a life’, the life of pure individuality which is submitted to us. We can obscure our own anxiety and reach a kind of complacent satisfaction; but this comes at the cost of genuine happiness, which exists only as a component of the figure of change. Just as the students of May 1968 scrawled on the walls of the Sorbonne the slogan, ‘Boredom is counter- revolutionary’, it lies to us to affirm that ‘Mindfulness is counter-revolutionary’. The second: ‘When you abdicate universality, you obtain universal horror’. The material problems we face can only be adequately met with a universal politics, indifferent to identity. As in the 19th century, we face a cynical capitalism conceiving itself the only rational societal model; who could forget how Francis Fukuyama announced the ‘end of history’ immediately after the fall of communism? As in the high-imperial era, we are told that the poor are to blame for their poverty; that Africans are generally backward; that the Middle



Illustrations by Robert Zhang (Year 10)

Tests under examination

Frequent testing can greatly enhance learning of new things. But gaining good results is not an end in itself Kamil Aftyka (Year 12)


I t is a truth universally acknowledged that to memorise information, just reading it a few times in a textbook is not very effective. In a study by Henry Roediger and Jeffrey Karpicke at the Washington University in St Louis, students who took a short test immediately after reading a piece of prose greatly increased their chances of recalling the information again in a test some time later. Indeed, the researchers claimed that if students know that they will be tested regularly throughout a whole term (even each period), they would study more and remember a larger amount of information. No one can deny that tests can clearly be helpful in structuring our learning – but only, I would argue, if they are used in a wise way. Crucial to young people being successful and motivated learners is an understanding of the reasons why they are in fact taught any bit of information. ‘Because it is written in the syllabus’ or ‘because it might be in the test’ may both be plausible explanations – pretty much everyone wants to achieve good results in public examinations and learning what is in the syllabus seems like an obvious way to achieve that goal. However, at least two responses can be made to argue against this view. The superficial response goes like this: ‘real’ learning begins when students start to go beyond the syllabus and also when they encounter a subject in many different ways – not

just through testing. It costs time and hard work to go beyond the outlines but it pays back in the future – we become more independent- minded, gain more intellectual confidence and find pleasure in different intellectual undertakings. This might be too idealistic for some – those who just want to succeed in the jobs market or who are simply less ambitious about what schools and universities should offer. But there is a second reason. The motivation to learn a given thing because it will be required in an exam produces is also unrealistic. After all, ‘in life, there is no grading on the curve or otherwise’, as Kathy Davidson from Duke University points out in her book Now You See It . It is not very controversial to say that success in life is defined in much more complex terms than letter grades; however, in the first 18 years of life the highest priority is assigned to obtaining high grades in exams. There seems, therefore, a tension between the definition of success in life and success in school, exemplified by a widely held view (or a kind of open secret) that there is not an ultimate correlation between these two types of success. The more emphasis we place on learning for testing, the more we are likely to forget about that common sense belief. Learning just to get a good grade on a test cannot give, by itself, a complete view on a subject; neither

can it be a prescription for achieving the success in life. But still lessons at schools all over the world are designed to prepare us to take tests successfully. The best learning surely occurs when we are challenged to step outside our safety zones, something difficult to achieve even with challenging past papers. There is one further reason to treat tests with caution. As Mike Feerick, CEO of the online education platform ALISON notes, ‘there’s an idea that kids always need synchronous courses to be engaged – this is completely flying against the cultural norms of this generation, where resources are self-paced, on-demand’. The rise of internet has brought about a shift in the way young people gain knowledge – personalised newsfeeds and self- paced online courses (MOOCs) are two well-known examples. Linear syllabi, the same for everyone, are now looking distinctly outmoded. It is also worth mentioning that the processing of knowledge online is a collective undertaking, based on the equality of members (co-learners) participating in it. In schools, we still see too often the well-established hierarchy in the relationship between teachers and students, where the role of the former is to provide the material; the job of the latter to absorb it efficiently. As Sir Michael Barber, education expert and former head of the Downing Street Delivery Unit, puts it, ‘the teacher is no longer just a transmitter of knowledge, but neither is she or he a mere facilitator. The role is that of an “activator”… someone who injects ambition, provokes thought, asks great questions, challenges mediocrity, and brings passion and insight to the task at hand.’ A worthy aim for education – but not so easy to achieve if your students are quietly doing a test…




This year, the College celebrated all that we do scientifically and creatively for one unforgettable week in October. Following on from the 2014’s Dulwich Creative, Dulwich Inventive was driven by the imagination of boys and teachers thinking beyond the confines of individual disciplines, with every pupil in the school being involved in some way – from DUCKS’ liquids workshops to the Upper School’s Fame Lab Finals

D uring the week, boys heard from over 25 visiting speakers and scientists and worked with them in a variety of workshops and interactive sessions. Visitors included Lord Professor Robert Winston, Dr Lewis Hartnell and Dr Hugh Hunt. The Enigma Machine from Bletchley Park was in school for a day and we were delighted to host the first exhibition of art by Henry Fraser OA as he made his well- publicised venture into painting. Departments hijacked time, space and events throughout the week. Every pupil was engaged in a code-breaking activity, with a new clue being released each day. They became masters of spin, creating paintings while learning about centrifugal force in art lessons; launched paper aeroplanes in DT at 80 miles per hour from the top of The Laboratory; and in Religion and Theology asked whether scientists could put their trust in God. Trips were arranged throughout the

week to see performances and visit museums, to attend workshops and participate in experiments, such as making elephant toothpaste, projectile volcanoes and experimenting with chemiluminescence. There was a cinema trip to The Martian and a West End theatre visit to see Nicole Kidman star as Rosalind Franklin, the ground- breaking chemist who contributed to the discovery of DNA in the play Photograph 51 . While the primary focus was to engage pupils, we also involved parents, former pupils and students from local schools who were invited to see the Science telescope at our stargazing event and to engage with astronaut Shannon Walker via our live satellite connection on NASA night. It was a highly successful week that got everyone thinking about the links between Science and the Arts, and represented inspiring, challenging and active learning at its best.







1. The stargazing event 2. Henry Fraser OA (centre) at the launch of his exhibition of paintings 3. Virtual reality as seen through an Oculus Rift headset, made available during the week 4. Lord Professor Robert Winston, one of the many visiting speakers during Dulwich Inventive 5. Mixing ingredients for ‘elephant’s toothpaste’ 6. The ‘toothpaste’ emerges… 7. Year 9 at the Science Museum 8. Centrifugal spin paintings 9. The Master joins in with a group of spin painters 10. Controlling drones being raced at Eller Bank 11. Breathtaking data collection in the Long Note competition with brass and woodwind players








I t starts with a relatively simple idea: concepts from Physics are employed to devise locks for safes that are conceptually hard to crack, but that become more straightforward when those concepts are understood. However, in the national rounds of the Weizmann Competition, this had itself been tested, with teams vying to unlock each other’s creations in a variety of imaginative ways. Our competitors attempts to roll glue sticks up an incline or trying to catapult objects through a hole of smaller diameter resulted in them cracking our safe in a more literal way than was intended. So the Dulwich team arrived at the international tournament in Israel ready for some serious competition. After an initial period in which we were allowed to make last minute changes to our safe, there was an antagonising wait while numerous judges inspected it and questioned our understanding of the principles guarding it. Then the teams got cracking. It is a terrible moment when you are guarding your safe and the other team is edging closer and closer to cracking it – which only two teams managed to do, with distinctly dubious methods. However, the safecracking side was very enjoyable indeed, with some members of our team putting their taste buds on the line and getting a mouth load of salt water, while we also came across a far superior Star Wars safe, which did not help us at all. On the whole, though, the competition was a very enjoyable day and, technically, we came in the top 20 per cent internationally (if you look subjectively at certain statistics…). Alexandros Penny (Year 12) and Harry Spratt (Year 12) reflect on another year trying to thwart attempts to unlock the Dulwich team’s safe The Weizmann safecracking competition

The final competition-ready safe

The food during our stay proved to be as good as our opposition. Having arrived expecting to live off flavoursome kebabs, we were disappointed to not touch the stuff for the first three days. But we needn’t have worried: there were infinite amounts of hummus, msabaha and falafel on offer. However, after three long days of meatless madness and a near-death experience from chickpea poisoning, we decided enough was enough. And so we ventured into Jerusalem in search of sustenance. There we found them waiting for us: smoking hot shawarma inside pitta breads – the food of winners, which we ate even though we didn’t actually place in the top ten. Good luck to next year’s teams.


Part of the Enigma Machine



As Dulwich Inventive progressed, a series of cryptic clues hidden around the College formed a code to be broken. For Yusuf Tarajia (Year 13), taking part in the competition opened a door on the complex but increasingly important world of cryptography, algorithms and internet security

I had deciphered the myriad of perplexing clues incorporating paper phones and rainbow mosaics, and was now left with the phrase: ‘First to email Master the year hidden in inventive logo.’ This was the final piece of a very tough jigsaw: every day during Dulwich Inventive Week a clue had been revealed, beginning with a secret message to be deciphered during a ‘lesson hijack’ at the start of the week. It became a test of patience and endurance, the search for patterns and codes rewarding only the most persistent of pupils, a small number of whom made it to the final stage. The first clue was hidden in plain sight in the colourful booklet containing the programme for the week. Random letters on the

introductory page were highlighted yellow, spelling out a secret message that you had to follow to unlock the next clue. How this was initially found out I will never know, but once I had caught wind of it, I began the arduous task of deciphering the daily clues. This culminated in a mysterious grid of numbers that I deduced had to be some sort of co-ordinate system. Each set of three numbers corresponded to a certain letter on a name on the southern face of the College War Memorial. I breathed a sigh of relief as I hurried over to my computer to email the Master the prize-winning answer: 2015. Victory was in my grasp. No one I knew who had been participating in the race had figured out the

solution and my hopes of winning rose with every character I typed. I clicked send, anxiously awaiting a response. Moments later I received a notification on my phone. It was from the Master. I hurriedly opened the message and skimmed through it. My heart sank as I was informed that I wasn’t the first, second, third or even fourth person to have answered correctly but, much to my dismay, the fifth. I was gutted and attempted to salvage some form of glory by emailing the Master with a request to consider me for runner-up. Once I had recovered that evening, I was browsing through my Facebook newsfeed when an article on NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden piqued my interest. Lauding Snowden for his revelations, the writer highlighted the


extent to which governments can access our private lives. Putting this together with my experience of breaking codes for Dulwich Inventive, the importance of the encryption used by social networking providers suddenly dawned on me. But, if I can crack the Dulwich code, how confident should we be of the protection these providers offer? How sure can we be that Big Brother is not watching us after all? I was compelled to read more about cryptanalysis, despite the fear of incurring a ‘no prep’ from my teachers the following day. The study of codes, with the intention of deciphering them without keys, has a long history: from work by the 9th-century scholar Al-Kindi to the decoding of key documents in the Babington plot of 1586, which led to the demise of Mary Queen of Scots, to the use of the Enigma Machine by German Intelligence in World War II and the success of Alan Turing and his team at Bletchley Park in deciphering its messages. The art of intelligence, security and counterintelligence has been a never-ending rat race and encryption algorithms are just the next step. Helpfully, the STEM day, part of Dulwich Inventive week, had given me the chance to see the Enigma Machine up close. After marvelling at the ingenuity of this contraption, I felt driven to read up on Turing and his further scientific contributions. Turing’s Automatic Computing Engine marked the start of the extraordinary proliferation of computers in every aspect of society; and as the use of modern computers has increased, so has the need for more secure data transactions. Coherent, structured arrangements of numbers and letters must be transformed into an incoherent muddle of untranslatable gibberish before being sent to a recipient, and then reconstructed at the other end in its original form – all in the blink of an eye. Understanding how modern-day encryption works means encountering numerous acronyms such as DES (data encryption standard) and AES (advanced encryption standard). But it is easier to understand encryption algorithms, or ciphers, if we think of them as merely providing a way to craft a message and give a range of possible combinations. A key helps the recipient to decipher the possible combination. Such ciphers are mostly used for two different types of encryption: symmetric-key encryption and asymmetric-key encryption (also known as public-key encryption). A metaphor might help to make the concept even clearer. Chris wants to send a message to Jane and does so by putting a message in a box and locking it with a key. He sends the box to Jane, who has an exact copy of the same key, and so can open the box, read the message and reply by locking her message in the box with the same key. In the digital world, this would be symmetric-key encryption and the box and padlock are the encryption algorithm, which turns the message into an incomprehensible jumble of characters. Symmetric-key algorithms can encrypt data one

The study of codes, with the intention of deciphering them without keys, has a long history

Breaking the codes during Dulwich Inventive


bit at a time (stream ciphers) or in a block of bits, often 64 bits, and encrypt them all (block ciphers). With public-key encryption, Jane must first receive Chris’ open padlock through the mail, with Chris keeping his key. She then writes the message and locks it in the box with Chris’ padlock, which he can open with his own key. Similarly, for Chris to reply, he must have Jane’s open padlock with which he can secure the message. This system prevents a third party intercepting the key whilst in transit between Chris and Jane, which is a risk in symmetrical- key encryption. Also, if Chris allows someone else to copy his key, the messages between Jane and Chris would be unsecure, but Jane’s messages to other people would still be secure as other people would have different padlocks for Jane to use. In the digital world, a private key and a public key are both used in this system. One is used for encryption and the other for decryption. The public key is distributed freely to message senders and this encrypts the message. This ‘locks the box.’ The recipient’s private key can then decrypt the message and ‘open the box’. With this message, there is no need to send anything secret over an insecure channel. The public key is accessible to everyone, whereas the private key can stay in your computer. A good example of public key encryption would be the RSA cryptosystem, with one of its designers hailing from the Weizmann Institute, where Dulwich has had many successes in the safecracking competition. Without going into too much mathematical depth, the basic process of the RSA system relies on the difficulty of factoring the product of two large prime numbers. The public key is based on the product of the two primes and if it is large enough, only those with access to the two prime factors can decrypt the encrypted message in reasonable time. However, RSA is a relatively slow algorithm and so is not used for encrypting data directly, but rather encrypting keys themselves for

transfer in symmetric-key encryption. Recently, the messaging service Whatsapp notified me that all of my messages were now ‘secured with end-to-end encryption’, meaning that the messaging software applied the encryption algorithm directly to the message, which is also decrypted by the software at the other end. As a result, any hackers cannot see the message before it has been scrambled at either end of a conversation. However, despite tech companies reassuring the public of their secure networks, there are still weaknesses with this type of encryption. The security breach occurs at the endpoints of the communication stream, a weakness in the mailbox itself. In 2013, Edward Snowden demonstrated that Skype had introduced a back door in their system through which messages could be handed over to the US National Security Agency, despite them being end-to-end encrypted. This highlights the fact that we are never truly secure in the digital world, as long as companies continue to introduce back doors to their systems. The promises of secure communications channels, then, even with their armoury of codes and algorithms, are akin to the promises made by politicians: they are merely attempts to assure the public that an Orwellian level of surveillance is not in effect. The truth is less certain. But without the likes of Edward Snowden, the concern for internet security and encryption would never have been in the public eye to the extent it is now. Big Brother may be watching us, but some of us are watching Big Brother.




Daniel Torren Peraire (Year 13) reports on the researchers, academics and writers who visited Dulwich during a day focused on science subjects

infamous decision to kick for the corner in the dying moments of the World Cup qualifier against South Africa as being mathematically sound despite it sending England out of the World Cup. Tom Briggs, outreach officer from Bletchley Park, brought in an Enigma Machine that had featured in the 2015 film The Imitation Game and discussed the genius shown by Alan Turing in breaking through the near-infinitely complex encryption posed by the device. A talk by Professors Dwayne Heard and Ben Whittaker from Leeds University on Atmospheric Physics explained Bertlmann’s Socks and the nature of reality. Jonathan Hare, who worked with Sir Harry Kroto at Sussex University discovering Bucky Balls, and who has featured on the BBC programme Horizon , led a workshop on superimposing sound on a laser beam, an idea taken up by one of the Dulwich teams in the Weizmann safe-cracking competition. Physicist and television presenter Jonathan Hare’s talk on the science of Breaking Bad attracted a keen audience. The day finished off with a talk from Hugh Hunt, Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, who had rushed to the College after flying in from Canada earlier that day. Well known for his Chanel 4 appearances in Building Hilter’s Supergun , Escape from Colditz and Dambusters: Building the Bouncing Bomb , Hugh’s talk was based on precession and circular motion and culminated in boomerangs being thrown around the great hall. Forty per cent of all leavers from Dulwich go on to study one of the STEM subjects at university. After such a successful first year, we hope that STEM Day will become a regular feature in the College’s annual calendar.

T here is something undeniably special about conversing with academics and those at the forefront of their field. Whether it is the answer they give to your question that you know is the most definitive explanation there is anywhere in the world at that moment, or the insight into how they started on their path to intellectual enlightenment, or even tales of their academic beginnings during their study in the Sixth Form, they never fail to inspire you to think you might be capable of doing the same. This was the rationale behind the Upper School STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Day, which took place as part of Dulwich Inventive. The College had the pleasure of welcoming 17 speakers from universities and academia, among them experts in Medical ethics, Physical Chemistry, Engineering and Code Breaking. Though students study discrete sciences while in the Upper School, the most exciting scientific developments happen in areas of crossover between subjects. Boys were asked to select from a range of options that included talks, workshops and interactive lessons from various areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. There were many highlights during the day. Robert Eastaway, author of popular books about Maths such as Why Do Buses Come in Threes? described Chris Robshaw’s


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