We were delighted to welcome back Old Decanian, Professor Tim Bliss, on Thursday when he came in to deliver a talk to current pupils about his award winning work.

Professor Bliss is a British neuroscientist who was awarded the Brain Prize in 2016. This is one of the world’s most coveted science prizes which is awarded for outstanding contributions to neuroscience. Prof Bliss was awarded the Brain Prize for his major contributions to brain research, and specifically for his identification of a form of plasticity believed to provide the neural basis of learning and memory. In September, Professor Bliss delivered a lecture at the Royal Society attended by many of the country’s leading neuroscientists and several Nobel prize-winners.

Tim Bliss was a boarder at Dean Close School in the 1950’s, was a House Prefect and a Librarian.

The talk was given in the School’s Bacon Theatre before a packed house of current pupils, former pupils and staff. The talk on memory provoked many questions, paricularly from the Sixth Form Scientists who asked whether memory was genetic and if devices such as smartphones and SatNavs are making our memories worse.

Prof Bliss stayed on for the evening to attend a dinner at Dean Close House held in his honour, with over 60 other Old Decanians coming back to meet him. The evening also saw the launch of ‘Distinguished Old Decanians’ – an Ebook that details past pupils with Military Honours, Distinguished Careers and outstanding sporting achievements – which will be available online very soon.

Headmaster, Bradley Salisbury, said: “We are delighted to be able to invite Professor Tim Bliss to return to Dean Close to speak to the pupils, parents and members of our extended community. A speaker of Professor Bliss’s calibre has the ability to unlock an interest or start a chain of thought. Sometimes we are inspired to pursue the particular area and sometimes it is the example of someone who started in the classrooms of Dean Close and has risen to the very top of their profession that leaves a mark. Personally, there is much that I am hoping to learn about the brain that could shape how we help our pupils to learn and how we teach.”