Inspiring young scientists of the future

Staff and postgraduate students from The School of Engineering and Digital Arts (EDA) recently attended the London and South East Big Bang Fair in Crawley on July 2nd to promote design and engineering to young people aged 9-19.

This was one of a series of regional Big Bangs and gives young people the chance to experience the fun of science and engineering through a variety of exciting, hands-on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) based activities. The regional Big Bang includes live, interactive events that offer 2000 local pupils the opportunity to experience learning outside the classroom in a fun and inspirational way. The exhibition also allowed young people to celebrate their STEM achievements through competitions and award schemes such as CREST (a project based awards scheme for STEM subjects) and Young Engineers.

This year’s regional event was even bigger than 2012’s – initial figures show there were around 3,000 young people and their teachers taking part (compared to around 2,000 in 2012).

EDA took their innovative Defeat SPECTRA exhibit to the event whereby young people were challenged to use the Electromagnetic Spectrum to try and crack a secret code using technology. Students found clues in infrared and ultraviolet light and attempted to deactivate the SPECTRA computer with microwaves and radio control before the evil organisation could take over the world. Pupils worked in pairs against the clock – understanding how to see in the dark, read invisible ink and look into sealed rooms. Over 300 individuals took part in the activity between 9.30 am and 3.00 pm (about 1 person per minute) with a good mixture of girls and boys participating.

EDA is looking forward to exhibiting and inspiring young engineers at the national Big Bang at the NEC, Birmingham in 2014 (13 – 16 March) as confirmed by Dr John Batchelor: “People of all ages love pitching themselves against SPECTRA and it’s always great to see how much young people enjoy applying science to solve problems”.
More info on regional big bang can be found