The Big Bang Fair is a national event that showcases the many and varied exciting opportunities within science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), specifically aimed at young people. Held every year during National Science and Engineering Week, this year the 3-day Fair was hosted at the NEC in Birmingham, with around 60,000 visitors in attendance.
Four teams from the Summer Science Exhibition 2011 were selected to exhibit their stands: Schrodinger’s cat in a silicon chip from University of Surrey and University College London; Trauma surgery: the science of the bleeding obvious! from the Royal London Hospital, QMUL; Rotting fish and fossils: resolving the riddle of our earliest vertebrate ancestors from the University of Leicester; and Ocean Drifters, a 360 degree film about plankton about from the University of Plymouth, was also on show.
Alongside the large range of exhibitors providing hands-on activities and demos for schoolchildren, teachers and families, the Big Bang Fair is the home of the National Science and Engineering Competition, where 11-18 year old students showcase their STEM research projects and compete to be named Young Scientist or Young Engineer of the Year. As well as some of the Society’s current or recent Research Fellows including Dr Carmel Toomes, Professor David Leys and Dr Jim Thomas, Dr Anne Helme, Education Outreach Manager at the Royal Society, was one of the judges at this year’s competition.
“I have helped to judge the National Science and Engineering Competition for the past 3 years, and each time I am completely astounded by the level of scientific knowledge of the students, and their talent and enthusiasm in explaining their research to us.
“It was also great to meet teachers and students from two schools that were exhibiting their Partnership Grants projects. Congratulations to Alcester Academy and The Grange Secondary School who were selected to attend the National Finals of NSEC with their STEM clubs.”