On Friday I had my first experience of The Big Bang Fair which was held at Excel in London over three days. This event is designed to inspire young people to take their interest in science and engineering further, and I can definitely see how it would. There are major companies, key institutes, and organisations like STEMNET all showing how exciting science is. The last I heard well over 20,000 people were due to attend, many with their parents on Saturday, the event’s third day.
In the half day I was there I only got to see a fraction of what was on offer. Even though I’m not a car person, the McLaren car (the orange one in the slideshow below) was really impressive. The crew from Bang goes the theory were there, and the Brainiac segments (with Prof Brian Cox and the airzooka was a laugh).
The finalists of the National Science and Engineering Competition (bringing together a range of competitions) from schools across the UK were there in force. I was amazed by the ingenuity of their projects, and the confident way they dealt with questions from all comers.
I was able to see the awards ceremony – hosted by Kate Bellingham and Brian Cox; this brought together major awards for young people and teachers in science and technology. Given the conversations earlier in the week at the Ingenious Women event, it was brilliant to see so many girls and teams of girls winning awards – the winner of the Young Scientist of the Year award was a girl from a school back in Northern Ireland (yay!).
It was a great way to see my job come to life, and I’d encourage anybody to take their children even if (like me) they don’t necessarily pursue their science further. That doesn’t mean you can’t be inspired! There’ll be regional events right across the country in the coming months and if you see one near you, do go!