The 10 best things to do at Uk’s Biggest Science and Engineering Fair for young people
The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair shows young people how exciting science and engineering can be, helping them to explore the possibilities of what a career path in STEM might look like, through thrilling demonstrations, displays and activities
- The Fair is free to attend and for both schools and families, with registrations open now: Here
The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair, the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) for young people in the UK will be returning to the NEC Birmingham this year, from 11th – 14th March 2020.
The award-winning event now in its twelfth year, The Fair demonstrates how classroom activities – for example slime making – can lead to big careers in the world of STEM – such as becoming a chemical engineer. Hundreds of STEM professionals, graduates and apprentices will be on hand for visitors to talk to about what they do and how they got there, while taking part in some seriously fun and hands-on activities with an aim to inspire them to consider a career in STEM.
The Fair, aimed at young people primarily aged 7-19 will see over 100 experiences, several interactive shows, a STEM playground and careers talks and guidance taking place from 11 to 14 March, with school days on Wednesday to Friday and a public day on Saturday.
1) MEET THE PROS
A big part of The Fair is showing young people what kinds of careers you can get into in the world of STEM, and how you can get there. Visitors get to meet scientists and engineers, there to talk to them about what they do and how they got into their jobs. Careers advisers on also there to talk to students and parents about possible future jobs and how to get into them.
Meet the Future You shows, an interactive Q&A with a diverse range of inspiring scientists and engineers, will take place across the four days of the Fair in the Careers Cabin. Careers talks will also be gracing the big stages, featuring VIP judges and themed sessions such as ‘saving lives’ careers.
While universities from across the country have always been present the Fair, this year their research departments are grouping together to exhibit the cutting-edge research that they are working on and showing young people what kinds of STEM subjects they can set their sights on if they were to go to university.
The University of Surrey will also have a stand looking at how AI technology will impact our lives at home in 2030, from security to robot assistants. The university has been creating machines that can see and hear in order to understand the world around them. Attendees can use an AI passport to travel across the interactive living spaces and explore award-winning technologies.
3) CULTURE AND ARTS
Staff from over 10 organisations within the UK theatre industry, led by the National Theatre and Society of London Theatre, will be coming together for the fourth time to host a stand at The Big Bang Fair to show young people the kinds of backstage careers that science and technology can lead to. Featuring Russell the mechanical crow, the severed head of Macbeth and a chance to operate a lighting board and a moving armchair, the Backstage Careers stand is a great place to inspire future technicians and engineers and debunk the myth that STEM and the arts are mutually exclusive.
Weirdologist and TV Gastronaut Stefan Gates is returning to the Fair to put on an explosive show filled with surprising hacks, myth busting and ridiculous stunts in the world of engineering, biomedicine and chemistry.
An addition to the weird and wonderful line up is Mark Thompson’s spectacular science show, which explores the magical world of matter with vortex generators and exploding toothpaste, and another regular back again is Foxdog Studios with the robot chef. Watch as the robot cooks breakfast, and even take part helping to control the different parts of the robot. Beans ahoy!
5) SUSTAINABILITY, ENVIRONMENT AND ENDANGERED SPECIES
With sustainability and endangered species at the top of the news agenda, keeping the environment safe is an area STEM plays a huge part in. At the Fair to tell us more will be Back from the Brink, with a stand all about the massive conservation project that is being undertaken and what part STEM plays within that, as well as how young people might be able to get involved.
Building, exploring and creating is everywhere at The Big Bang Fair, from putting together an Eco-City with LEGO and the Brickies Team, to creating your own bath bombs and seeing how attractive you are to live mosquitos in a health challenge, there’s always something to get involved in.
ZooLab will be host to a group of snakes, spiders and other reptiles in a hands-on exhibit and The Royal Entomological Society will be bringing along live insects. Find out why these are the very creatures that are essential to keep the world turning.
7) ROBOTS AND MACHINES
The robotics don’t stop at a robot chef. Tomorrow’s Engineers hosts its annual Robotics Challenge, allowing young people to take to the runway! After building a LEGO robot with the speed, agility and engineering of a pro, a race ensues crowning only one the winner.
As well as robotics, JCB will be hosting the Digger Dash that sees young people put their machine operating skills to the test to be in with the chance to pick up exclusive prizes.
8) YOUNG TALENT
As well as being an event packed full of interactions and explosions, The Big Bang Fair is also a chance to check out the projects created by students from across the UK that have made it to the UK finals of The Big Bang Competition. The Competition hosts over 200 finalist projects and rewards young people’s achievements in all areas of STEM. Visitors can see inventions and projects that aim to prevent pollution, investigate gravity, help the less fortunate and provide aids for people going through mental health problems and much more.
On the 13th and 14th March, the UK Finals will take place at The Fair, where entrants compete for over £20,000 worth of amazing prizes, including top and runner-up prizes in the Junior, Intermediate and Senior categories for science and engineering, as well as the coveted titles of the GSK UK Young Engineer of the Year and GSK UK Young Scientist of the Year.
9) CROWD FAVOURITES
With all of the amazing things happening at the Fair, it’s hard to know what to do first. These crowd favourites should be a good place to start, though:
- The Cloud Factory: Sarah’s Adventures in Science brings you The Cloud Factory, where you can see and touch clouds as they are made.
- The Accelerator: Race against the world’s fastest athletes as the lights in The Accelerator tunnel show how you fair against the likes of Usain Bolt, Mo Farah and Jess Ennis-Hill.
- Hydrogen bike: Cycle your way to creating hydrogen gas, and then as a hydrogen flame, on the Hydrogen Bike.
10) JUDGES AND VIPS
In amongst the young talent, viewing their projects and speaking to competitors you will find a host of judges and VIPs, all looking for the next GSK Young Engineer and GSK Young Scientist of the Year. Among the list of industry professionals are the likes of Head Stemette & co-founder of STEMettes Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, UK Tech Expert, children’s author and television presenter Jason Bradbury, TV personality, author and maths teacher Bobby Seagull and inventor and co-founder of Kids Invent Stuff, Ruth Amos.
The Fair is free to attend and for both schools and families, but you must register in advance. Registration is open now: Here