Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineering Fair 2012

Yesterday was phase two of "Outings with FC" - to the The Big Bang Science fair at the NEC Birmingham, for a spot of being nerdy and being awesome. Click here to see phase one: "Camden"! Here are some images from the fair, courtesy of my dad. The fair was basically an exhibition with various science and engineering companies showcasing what they do, with some hands on activities so that you can experience it yourself.

The fair was broken down into these main sections: Making Trax led by Jaguar Land Rover, Go Global led by Siemens, Farm to Fork, The Next Factor led by BAE Systems, Body Talk, Energise led by Shell. It is obvious that there is quite a prominent engineering focus to the fair, but that is probably because they have the money to sponsor these sorts of events.

Unfortunately, we didn't get to see any famous people (I was hoping to see Prof Brian Cox!) but that is probably because the best shows had to be book way in advance and I was not that speedy. However, we managed to talk to various people from lots of different science and engineering based industries. Some where more knowledgeable than others, but it was really interesting being able find out about the assortment of different branches of science.

One of the best stands was one where we got to make our own ice cream by putting milk, sugar and flavouring into a bag, which was then placed into another bag filled with ice and salt. Because ice requires energy to melt, it absorbs heat energy from the milk mixture and the environment. The salt lowers the melting point of ice, so even more heat energy is needed to be absorbed to melt the ice, thus, speeding up the ice cream making process. In the end, the ice cream that we made was quite convincing and did taste okay, for the first few mouth fulls, but after a while, it became rather sickly and the milk started tasting dodgy too.

Other activities included making peanut butter, making a giant blood clot, staring at a spinning wheel until you fall over and going up and down ramps in a land rover. Some more activities are shown below in these pictures.
This contraption was previously used to prepare astronauts during early space exploration missions. Unsurprisingly, I did not have a go on it as it looked absolutely terrifying. The guy in the picture had a "I'm about to soil my pants" expression on his face whilst being spun round in every direction.
On this stand, you could create a vortex and blast a doughnut of smoke towards some tin cans to score points. Well done to my dad for capturing this awesome picture - the girl's expression is hilarious.
At the fair, there were also informative shows/presentations by various people. We managed to catch this guy (Dr Ken - although I think he's far too imbecilic to have a doctorate). His presentation was "How to save the Planet in 60 seconds" although it was so stupid as the title is completely misleading. Here, a girl is spinning a basketball on a hand held drill. This is when my hate for this guy started manifesting- he started making sexist jokes about girls and their incompetence with power tools. I understand that it was only a joke, but I didn't - nor did the rest of the audience- find it very funny. I obviously can't speak for the entire female population, but I think I am pretty capable at handling tools, and I thought it was absolutely shocking that he was making these jokes, 1) at a science and engineering fair - the whole point of them is to encourage women into these industries rather than deter them- and 2) in front of a young girl and a mostly family audience. Pretty soon after this picture was taken, we swiftly left as I could not stand him for much long and I think quite alot of other people did too. This second time this month I have experienced gender inequality regarding science and engineering. Sad times.
This was probably one of the coolest aspects of the science fair. These little remote controlled, helium filled dolphins/planes/blimps elegantly flew around the fair - I want one.
This bubbly experiment is used in construction to find the strongest structures.
Us on fire. Standard.
In the NEC in another hall, there was an Alpaca exhibition by the British Alpaca Futurity. Unfortunately, we couldn't get in as it required to by tickets, but we had a quick peak from outside and they looked pretty cool. The smell they produced, on the other hand, was not so cool.
Here is some of random freebies that I acquired from the fair.They are quite a nice bonus, and at last I have some working pens! Though one thing that I regret is that I didn't take a stress ball freebie from one of the companies and now I regret it! There was also this super cool red blood cell stress ball that I saw one person had, but alas, I could not find it :(.
 Here is a close up of "The game that is really infectious" - happy families featuring infectious diseases. Some of the cartoons that they drew for each disease are quite funny. I might donate this to the biology department at school.
However, my favourite freebie of them all is my "Plantarium - Growing Gel". It is pretty much some agar jelly in a tube, and you get some seeds to grow a plant. Apparently this "patented technology" has even been used by NASA in space. I have already put some basil seeds in the gel, so I hope they germinate soon and I will have a lovely basil plant. It says that it is "fool-proof", but although, knowing my luck with growing plants (the air plant that I featured in this post is pretty much dying as the leaves are falling out!), they probably won't germinate and I'll just end up with a tube of growing mould.

I got this cool plant growing kit from Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil company and is also the most valuable company in the world. This shows a clear trend that occurred at the fair - the largest companies (such as oil companies) all had the best freebies, as they are obviously wealthy beyond belief. They can afford to throw their money all across the place!

I think I probably sound so stingey talking about all the freebies that I got, but I am most grateful for simply being able to attend such a worthwhile event, especially since the tickets were free. It can't start to imagine how much it would've cost to put on a fair of such a vast scale, so I am so glad that I have been able to be part of it and I do think I have learnt something. Hopefully I can go again next year in 2013!

Time for phase three of "Outings with FC"!

Rebecca x
P.S. I have been majorly slacking with the volume of posts that I have been getting out on this blog - will try and be better in the future!
P.P.S I have just found out that my 8 year old friend has a blog, and he's been posting since he was 6 years old... I feel so old now - I didn't even have an email at that age!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Go on then, what are you waiting for? Type a comment. I know you want to... ;)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...