Youngsters explore the science behind the racehorse at Newmarket's National Heritage Centre
Young members of a club set up to honour the Newmarket-born Second World War codebreaker Bill Tutte got to know more about the science of the racehorses when they visited the town’s National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art.
The special science lecture visit, just before Christmas, was made possible with the support of the fund-raising Newmarket Festival committee.
And in particular the young visitors focused on the Maktoum Gallery of the Thoroughbred which looks at horseracing from a new perspective, through the lens of science.
From examining the physical attributes of the equine athlete to the genetics of selective breeding, the gallery gave club members an insight into the importance of the thoroughbred pedigree and how science is used to preserve it. Alongside scientific exhibits about comparative anatomy, veterinary practice and more is the human story: horseracing’s influential blood lines and breeders, and how they have shaped the course of horseracing’s history.
Briony Jackson, the centre’s science curator, said; “As well as exploring the science galleries of the National Heritage Centre the children were investigating equine DNA sequences and the microscopic world of the horse.”
Bill Tutte was born in Newmarket in 1917, the son of the gardener and the housekeeper at Newmarket’s Fitzroy Stables in Black Bear Lane.
Even as a child Bill excelled in mathematics and as a pupil at Cheveley Primary School he won a scholarship to Cambridge High School for Boys a year early. From there he progressed to Trinty College, Cambridge, where he studied chemistry and from where he was recruited to work at Bletchley Park, Winston Churchill’s ‘Fortress of Secrets’ during the Second World War. There he successfully found a way to crack the Nazi Lorenz code, a feat which was said to have shortened the war by at least two years.
The Bill Tutte Memorial working group was set up to honour Tutte’s genius in his home town and as well as establishing the commemorative Codebreaker sculpture on Rutland Hill, the group also set up the The Bill Tutte Club to honour his achievements with a living legacy for Newmarket, inspiring the next generation of mathematicians and scientists.
The club is a free after-school group which is open to all students from Years 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 in the Newmarket area who wish to explore maths and science in a friendly and informal environment. It is run by experienced qualified teachers and meets once a month at Newmarket Academy, from 4pm-6pm. New members are always welcome
For more information about the Bill Tutte Club, go to billtuttememorial.org.uk/bill-tutte-club/See all the pictures in this week's Journal. Turn to page 18.