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Science makes a Big Bang at Northumbria

Press release   •   Jul 19, 2014 00:00 BST

Mini earthquakes, electro magnetism and 3D head scan models will fascinate and engage young people when The Big Bang Fair arrives at Northumbria University, Newcastle this week.

Hosted at Northumbria University on Friday 20th June, the Big Bang North East is a free programme of events designed to show how science technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects make a difference in the real world.

The fair arrives following the recent launch of the University’s £1.2m Think Physics project. This innovative cradle-to-career initiative is aimed at using physics to inspire young people, particularly girls, into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The three-year project is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and supported by a number of high-profile partners and North East schools. It aims to engage with 6,000 young people from across 80 schools and colleges across the North East of England.

Northumbria Physics academics and student ambassadors will run several activities throughout The Big Bang North East, including demonstrations of what happens when earthquakes occur and how resonance is used to build structures; electro magnetism; explorations of surface tension in water droplets; and a Think Physics Logo competition that invites young people to design a logo to promote the pioneering project. Visitors can also enter a prize draw to have their heads created by a 3D printer.

Emma Garrick, Think Physics Outreach Specialist at Northumbria, said: “The Big Bang event is a great opportunity to engage with young people about the exciting study and career opportunities available in STEM subjects and, in particular, Physics.

“As part of my outreach role I have started to create fact sheets to support the Think Physics activities taking place, which explain the physics topics being investigated and how they are applied within the real world. Our electro magnetism and propulsion demonstration highlights an area that links to high speed rail and could lead to future career opportunities, for example, as a propulsions engineer developer.

“Events like The Big Bang enable young people to see how classroom activities translate to real life occupations and how exciting those occupations can be.”

Other highlights from The Big Bang North East programme include The Ugly Animal Roadshow, hosted by Channel 4’s Nature’s Giants presenter, Simon Watt and The Trading Game, which challenges student teams to employ their maths skills to buy and sell shares on a stock exchange changing floor simulator. There will also be a wide variety of demonstrations provided by the University of Hull, the Great North Museum, Newcastle University, Durham University and Northern Architecture.

The Big Bang North East is part of a major UK-wide programme led by EngineeringUK and delivered by NYBEP, a leading education business partnership that brings together schools, colleges, higher education, and employers in collaboration to develop the workforce of the future and inspire young people to succeed.

The Big Bang Near Me Programme also celebrates and raises the profile of young people’s achievements in STEM through the National Science and Engineering Competition, led by the British Science Association.

Each event has something for everyone, from hands-on activities to major shows and talks. Students can also take part in and exhibit project work, and win prizes and places at The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair.

Yvonne Emerson, Partnership Manager at NYBEP, said: “We want as many young people from across the region to take part in this programme of activities and we want to engage as many employers and organisations as possible to share in the impact of inspiring our next generation of scientists and engineers.”

Northumbria is a research-rich, business-focussed, professional university with a global reputation for academic excellence. To find out more about our courses go

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