Seeing (and hearing) amazing biplanes flying past you as you take a quick break from the front lines of public engagement is a pretty good way to spend a Tuesday lunchtime, and with the amazing venue of the Imperial War Museum at Duxford for this years Big Bang Eastern, it was a sight that all exhibitors, judges and guests got to enjoy.
Armed with our inflatable dinosaur Trevor, we set off to Cambridge to share our passion for the history of biology with the 2000 attendees at the regional event for the Big Bang Fair.
The Big Bang is the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths for young people in the UK and everything is aimed at showing young people (primarily aged 7-19) just how many exciting and rewarding opportunities there are out there for them with the right experience and qualifications. Through a series of regional and local events (like the Big Bang Eastern), the organisers work with partner organisations across business and industry, government and academia to try and give a flavour of the real scale of engineering and science in the UK.
The first outing of our Biology: Changing the World public engagement activities was a tremendous success and I found talking to the students about famous biologists was really interesting. The activities we took were a simple fortune teller with famous biologists, and a matching pairs game.
Students had to make the fortune teller – then try and find their scientist in the pairs game as quick as they could. The times got quicker throughout the day (our winning time was a speedy 4 second match!), and sticking the times on Post-it notes quickly gave Trevor an attractive yellow make over.
Our feedback wall was also pretty popular, and having year 9 students suggest stem cell research as an area of biology and Alfred Russel Wallace as a biologist was very impressive. As well as the exhibition, the Big Bang also gave students the chance the display posters of their practical work, with the chance to win prizes for themselves and their school. The topics the students looked at and the enthusiasm that they had when they explained their work was amazing.
It’s hard for me to pick a favourite part of the day, but seeing 6 students trying to squeeze into one photo for a #dinosaurselfie is tough beat!
Biology: Changing the World is a heritage project of the Society, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and in partnership with the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.