RCUK are once again looking forward to participating in The Big Bang 2013, which this year will be at ExCeL in London on 14th – 17th March. The fair is the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths for young people in the UK. At RCUK, we believe that inspiring the next generation of researchers is vital to the future prosperity of the UK and brings major benefits to our economic and social wellbeing. Jam-packed with interactive exhibits, workshops, simulators and shows, The Big Bang Fair brings science and maths alive for students as they discover how science, engineering and technology are all around us.
The Fair was first held in 2009 and RCUK have participated every year. We have been thrilled to see how the Fair has grown, last year over 56,000 visitors attended the Fair and were amazed at just how exciting engineering and science can be. But it’s about more than thrills. At its heart, The Big Bang is about careers and futures and highlighting the exciting possibilities that exist for young people with science, technology, engineering and maths backgrounds. This is something that is also close to our hearts.
As in previous years, RCUK have many exciting and stimulating exhibits at the Fair. These include:
• The opportunity to see graphene being made live and play with graphene game apps (EPSRC funded);
• A pedal power generator will show how much energy is needed to light an LED and traditional light bulb (EPSRC funded);
• An exhibit on metamaterials and a game which visitors can use to answer questions (EPSRC funded);
• A David Attenborough narrated film with Dr Richard Kirby (previously sponsored by NERC) about plankton in the sea and their importance to our lives;
• A stand on earth observation which will show visitors how satellites capture images to better understand the way the Earth functions as well as how that information can be used to help people. (NERC funded collaborating with the UK Space Agency);
• An opportunity to walk through a life size model of part of the LHC tunnel and get hands-on with a number of interactive exhibits, collectively creating a feel for what it’s like to be a particle physicist working on the largest science experiment of our time (STFC funded);
• A chance to talk to some of the people who work on the Herschel Space Observatory, explore the world at infrared wavelengths and discover why infrared is so useful when studying our skies (STFC funded);
• Why is it so difficult to trace the origin of food poisoning outbreaks (funded through the RCUK Global Food Security programme);
• A display on insect birth control and how it is being used to control mosquitos in order to prevent the spread of disease. This will show the molecular biology, ecology and health benefits of this sort of control using displays and live animals (BBSRC funded);
• A demonstration of the stages in producing a GM plant and the chance for visitors to express their views on GM, plus a newspaper to take away (BBSRC funded);
• An interactive ‘Zombie’ game involving stickers and a live mapping tool which allows visitors to ‘infect’ their friends and track the course of the outbreak as it happens (MRC funded);
• An exhibit which engages visitors to use their breath to make ink images, which in turn have been translated into a striking animation of the lungs in action. Visitors can also test their own lungs with a Spirometer – or blow up a lung balloon and see how big you can make it (MRC funded);
• A game which tests the whole family’s ability to remember words on a flashing screen, whilst the littlest ones try a picture card game against the giant egg-timer. A take-away ‘spot-the-letter’ game reminds everyone that exercise is important to keep our brains healthy;
• A whole range of activities in the run up to the International Year of Crystallography in 2014. There will be the opportunity to grow crystals, build models of weird and wonderful molecules, collect your own data and ‘solve’ a structure using x-ray diffraction (RCUK funded).
Both families and schools get a huge amount out of the variety of exhibits. Jenny Roberts, a teacher from Salford Priors Primary School commented:
“It’s bringing science alive for them. They’re all excited and wanting to go on to the next thing which is absolutely brilliant”.
Over 1000 extra places have just been released so make sure you book now to avoid being disappointed!