2021 IOP Technician Award - Secondary Schools

David Ferguson, Uppingham School

For providing outstanding long-term support and assistance to teachers and peers in his role as a physics technician for over 20 years.

David Ferguson 2021 IOP Technician Award winner

David Ferguson is an astounding physics technician. Always keen to share his knowledge and develop ideas, Ferguson is a great source and disseminator of the knowledge of physics equipment and physics demonstrations.

He has the respect of every teacher and technician in his own school and across the whole physics teaching community.

This respect has been built continuously for more than 20 years.

Ferguson has contributed to significant projects that reach far and wide in the physics community. For example, the Nuffield Foundation Practical Physics collection is full of his contributions. This material is still used by lots of teachers and is currently available on IOP Spark.

He has been a valued contributor on TalkPhysics.org for many years. He gives up his time to start and actively participate in threads, answer questions from teachers and technicians on all types of physics demonstrations, and adds his own pictures of new and novel setups.

Ferguson also spends his time exploring and creating cheap versions of equipment that all departments can afford and make. An example is the £17 Ferguson Ripple Tank, an affordable piece of apparatus that can be made in bulk and used by pupils to conduct GCSE-required practicals.

Another recent endeavour was a Leslie cube for around £4. There was significant interest in this and other recent ideas he has shared to help teachers through the difficult start and continuation of the required practicals.

As well as sharing resources for teachers over multiple platforms, Ferguson shares his knowledge with many technicians on their forums. He is always willing to answer questions and is happy to be called at any time for real-time assistance. He has been responsible for weather station telescopes and gets involved with physics classes and students on projects too numerous to name.

Ferguson has worked hard throughout the pandemic. He chose to give up furlough and to support teachers and technicians in their move to remote lessons. He is always learning new ideas. For example, he taught himself a new programming language in an afternoon to help utilise some equipment.

His application to the diffusion of physics knowledge is exemplary. He is approachable, kind and more than willing to assist all involved at any level in the teaching of physics.