IOP Institute of Physics

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Hawks, Daleks and the IOP: Big Bang Fairs covering our region

30 July 2012

All UK 11-18 year olds in full time education are eligible to enter the National Science and Engineering Competition via the Big Bang Regional Fairs.  

Ortis Deley, Students from La Sainte Union School, who won a branch physics prize and Dr Robert Kirby-Harris who presented the physics prize

All UK 11-18 year olds in full time education are eligible to enter the National Science and Engineering Competition via the Big Bang Regional Fairs.  

Nominated projects from the regional fairs go forward to the National Big Bang Fair which is next in London, 14-16 March 2013.  

Many students display their CREST projects; others enter the Science showcase section which is not part of the main competition.

At many of the regional fairs there are activities for the students and visitors, for example at The Eastern Region Big Bang, held at Duxford on 4 July organised by Hertfordshire Setpoint, there was the choice of:  The Naked Scientists present: “Open Your Mind: A Spine-tingling Tour of the Brain”, Matt Pritchard presents: “Could it be Magic?”, Show Me Learning presents: “The Materials Show”, the “You’re Banned!” Acoustics Activity and The Bionic Ear Show.  

Exhibitors included: BBSRC, Classroom Medics, Deafness Research UK, Ear to the Sky, Gravity Racing, Imperial Bird of Prey Academy, Institution of Chemical Engineers, MBDA, The Open University, Queen Mary University of London, Renewable Energy Systems, Shepreth Wildlife Park, Space Flight UK, The Genome Analysis Centre, University of Hertfordshire, Wonder of Engineering and also Lee Crouch with the IOP stand.

At the East of England event over 64 judges took part working in teams of two to cover the 81 projects.  Each project is judged twice using laid down criteria and moderators were available in case of conflict.

As well as the CREST prizes, in the bronze, silver and gold categories, there was the Young Engineer for Britain Engineering excellence award and the nominations for the National Big Bang there were Special Prizes provided by Institutes or Companies, these were:

Institute of Physics - Physics Prize (winner, runner-up).
MBDA - Engineering Prize (winner, runner-up).
RES - Sustainability Prize (winner, runner-up).
MSD - Biology Prize (winner, runner-up).
RSC - Chemistry Prize (winner, runner-up).
TTP - Most Creative/Innovative Project (winner, runner-up).
EEESTA Club Showcase Prize, (Judged on best overall Club Showcase stand, enthusiasm & teamwork).
DynaKar Best Overall Display Stand.

Our branch committee provided two judges, Prof Peter Kalmus and Bob Boutland, both of whom had an interesting morning and a difficult decision regarding the Physics Prizes.   IOP certificates had been prepared prior to the competition and these were available to any good physics as our committee members felt appropriate, for example ‘Mathematical modelling of the electron wave function with the Shrodinger equation to calculate the probability of success with quantum tunnelling in cancer therapy’. This project was selected, at the end of the main competition, to go forward to the National Big Bang Finals in London March 2013.

The Branch Physics Prizes were presented to: -

Felsted Prep School –
What is the best paper aeroplane?

Aylesbury Grammar School – Hover Bovver

A full list of Winners in all categories can be found here.

South East Region Big Bang
The SE Region Big Bang was held in the Hawth Theatre, Crawley on 5 July and was organised by the University of Brighton.  Once again there were interactive stands from organisations as well as those manned by the competition entrants, The Physics Stand manned by Sarah Allen, Lee Crouch and Paul Burton was in a marquee.

Science shows: - Amoeba to Zebra, The Bigger Bang!, May the Force be with you, Science Magic ... Magic Science and Engineering from cradle to grave provided competitors and visitors with some interesting experiences as did the interactive stands.

Some IOP certificates were presented to pupils from The Forest School for their project ‘Living on Mars’ which won the Nestle Academy Striving for Success in Science Award.  IOP certificates were also presented to students from Oaklands Catholic School, Waterlooville who won the Doosan Award for Project Engineering.

Additional to the main CREST, Young Engineers, the National Science and Engineering Competition, Young Engineer for Britain, Tomorrows Engineers and Stem Club awards there were special prizes prizes: - Doosan Award for Project Engineering, Eleactra Award for Science, Amey Award for Innovation, Invenseys Eurotherm Award for Commercial Potential, Nestle Academy Striving for Success in Science Award, Institute of Physics Award for Physics and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Prize for Excellence in Engineering.

Our Physics winner at Crawley was Hazelwick School, Three Bridges, for their ‘Fun Bin’ project.

A full list of Winners can be found at:

London Region Big Bang
The London Region Big Bang was held in Westminster Kingsway College off Grays Inn Road on 11 July with projects and exhibitors through the foyer, library and on many floors.  Again this was a popular venue for school groups interested in the displays and activities.  Unfortunately some school groups pulled out at the last minute so there were fewer projects here than at the other two fairs covering our region.  Prof Kalmus and Bob Boutland had been elevated to be moderators rather than judges at this event; we had plenty to look at.

Amongst the choice of activities for students were the Bionic Man and his medical implants, Crime Scene Investigators, Classroom Medics warming up for sport, Zebrafish from the Royal Veterinary College, Space Science by SEPnet, the Robogals Robot.  IOP had its stand in the foyer and were busily launching paper rockets.

Some home educated children were displaying their work as a ‘Science Showcase’ and we awarded them some branch certificates as we did to The ‘Sustainables’ team from the Ursuline Academy, Ilford, who were looking at ‘Understanding the insulating properties of mud as a building material’.  Mini houses had been constructed and investigated with different insulators.

Once again in addition to the main prizes, CREST & Engineering and the places in the national final the branch had two prizes available.

Also present at the fair was Ortis Deley, who was compare for the prize ceremony. Professor John Perkins CBE FREng, Chief Scientific Adviser, Department for Business Innovation and Skills, Nick Baveystock, Director General, Institution of Civil Engineers and our former chief executive Dr Robert Kirby-Harris all of whom presented various prizes.

 The picture shows, Left to Right: - Ortis Deley, Students from La Sainte Union School, who won a branch physics prize and Dr Robert Kirby-Harris who presented the physics prize. Our other prize winner, students from Ellen Wilkinson School with their showcase display, had to leave before the ceremony. A full list of winners is at :  

The photo is courtesy of Westminster Kingsway College, who organised the London Big Bang Fair.

To find out about the Hawks and Daleks see the July 2012 branch newsletter on MyIOP, which also contains more pictures of the three regional big bang events and a report of The REMS ‘At Home’ on 5 July plus the communicators group meeting on 29 June.

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