PERTH scientist Barry Marshall inspired students by sharing his journey from an “ordinary kid” to Nobel Prize winner during a visit to Kingsway Christian College.
He was awarded the prize in 2005 with colleague Robin Warren for “their discovery of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori and its role in gastritis and peptic ulcer disease” after he famously ingested the bacteria to prove it caused stomach ulcers.
Professor Marshall visited the school following National Science Week to deliver a whole school presentation about his research then spent time with a Year 12 chemistry class.
He is a state ambassador for life sciences and said there was an increasing appetite to hear about his journey to Nobel Laureate.
“While presenting guest lectures always energises me, I really like the one-on-one conversations I get to have afterwards,” he said.
“I shared a great conversation with college captain Jesse Chester-Brown… and I enjoyed chatting with the Year 12 chemistry students.
“Flicking through their chem textbook in the lab afterwards brought back lots of memories.”
Prof Marshall said he hoped students found the visit “engaging and inspirational”, and had elicited some laughs by sharing stories from his childhood.
“I think it’s good for the students to know that I was an ordinary kid, with a normal upbringing and that making a medical breakthrough is not beyond their reach,” he said.
“Sometimes the high school curriculum can be so content heavy, that there’s a danger that students fall out of love with science.
“So my advice was to remain curious, to read widely and to think wildly.
“It might not improve your ATAR, but it will set you up to be a great scientist.”
Principal Peter Burton said the visit was of great benefit to students.
“It was an honour to have Prof Marshall visit us and his intriguing research lessons, ability to relate to all and excellent sense of humour certainly inspired many enquiring minds among our secondary students,” he said.