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2023 IOP Technician Award: Andrés Tretiakov

Secondary Schools

Andrés Tretiakov for a passion and commitment to science education that has inspired young people, teachers and parents through school, outreach programmes, science festivals and social media. 

For the past 15 years, Andrés Tretiakov has worked as a science technician and, since 2019, as a physics technician. He has made magic happen from his prep-room. Tretiakov alone has developed a number of new classroom experiments and demonstrations to complement the school curriculum: teaching reaction rates through custard powder flame throwers, forces through ethanol powered rockets and making a rubber band heat engine from an old bicycle wheel, to name a few. He has delivered several of the most popular whole school assemblies. His core teaching skills and dedication to extracurriculars are limitless.

Dr James Perkins, a past physics teacher at St Paul’s School commented: “Andrés understands the processes and physics of his displays and demonstrations and is able to clearly describe the science to any audience”. From his school, Tretiakov coordinates the ’Magic of Materials’ summer school and before that a term-long weekend teaching programme for year 7 students from disadvantaged backgrounds in Hammersmith. His demonstrations are well-prepared, thoroughly researched and sensationally delivered.

Tretiakov’s expertise helped design the timetable for the chemical physics strand of the Imperial College Sutton Trust summer school for students from across the UK, and he continues to deliver demonstration sessions together with hands-on activities at University College London’s Institute of Making Public Open Days. Through his involvement with external organizations, he has demonstrated to students the societal and economic impact of careers in science. His popular scientific social media accounts have allowed him to organise school visits from prestigious external speakers. He has enhanced the academic achievements of students at St Paul’s and beyond, and consistently thrilled his audience.

Alongside his technician commitments, Tretiakov has contributed to a number of well-attended public events. These have included acting as a science consultant for several television shows and popular science books. He designed interactive activities for the open days taking place at St Paul’s and at the Institute of Making, and has contributed and participated at events at the Royal Institution, Royal Society of Chemistry, Wellcome Trust and Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining. These events have inspired hundreds of young minds, and the teaching resources he has developed have been shared with hundreds of teachers and parents.