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Summer under way with a Big Bang
24th June 2014

The biggest, most exciting event of the summer for young people from across the South East takes place at the South of England Showground on Tuesday, 1st July.

Around 5,000 nine-19-year-olds from the region will be at the third annual Big Bang Fair South East, part of the nationwide Big Bang programme, the biggest single celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) for young people in the UK – and this year’s event will be bigger and better than ever before.

The fair, which is the culmination of the annual Crawley STEMfest, has been moved to Ardingly from its previous home in Crawley in order to cope with the increased demand for places from schools and colleges throughout the region.

And the programme of shows, interactive demonstrations and hands-on workshops provided by businesses, universities and other organisations has also been expanded, with more than 100 this year.

Among the highlights are:

  • maxon motor UK’s ECCERobot, the world’s first robot that mimics human movements in extremely high detail;
  • An explosive and entertaining show from the Science Museum that has everything from rockets to magic tricks, from instant ice cream to earth-shattering bangs;
  • A giant nose with which the Society of Immunology will demonstrate what causes allergies and how treatments are being developed;
  • A real working Enigma cipher machine, courtesy of the Bletchley Park Trust;
  • And supported by Skyburst the Firework Co, Matthew Tosh will take students on a spectacular tour of the science behind professional fireworks in a demonstration previously unseen at a Big Bang event.

Visitors can also get up close and personal with snakes and spiders with the East Sussex Reptile and Amphibian Society and meet Alaska the Bald Eagle, courtesy of Eagle Heights Wildlife Centre.

Main event sponsor CGG’s Activity Centre will cover a range of exciting STEM-based activities, from geology using chocolate bars to a jelly-bean machine that shows the basic principles of wave motion.

And Crawley-based sponsor Thales will invite students to navigate robots around a maze and take the intriguing Codebreaker Challenge.

The fair also hosts the regional finals of the prestigious National Science + Engineering Competition (NSEC), where students present their projects to a panel of judges. The best projects will represent the South East at the national finals in March 2015.

The Big Bang Fair South East is organised by STEM Sussex, the STEM outreach support department at the University of Brighton, in partnership with Central Sussex College and Crawley Borough Council.

“This is the third successive year of the Big Bang South East, and we have put together a programme that is bigger and promises to be more exciting than ever before,” said STEM Sussex Project Manager Jo McKinney.

“Our aim is to educate and enthuse young people about science, technology, engineering and maths in a fun and entertaining way. Feedback from previous events confirms how much students enjoy the day – and can’t wait to come back next year.”

For a flavour of the 2013 event, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uadq4LU2Tzw or http://www.crawleystemfest.co.uk/about-crawley-stemfest/photo-gallery-big-bang-se-2013.

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