The Big Bang North West

The Big Bang Near Me is a programme of events that get young people excited about science, technology, engineering and maths.  The Big Bang North West, organised by MerseySTEM, took place yesterday, Wednesday 8th of July, with nearly 6000 thousands children coming to Aintree Racecourse to visit a number of exhibitions from a variety of parners, and to present their own scientific projects as part of the national science+engineering competition.

The School of Life Sciences and the Institute of Integrative Biology staff and students were present and supporting the event in a variety of ways. So many in fact that this post will remain for a few days “in construction”: I hope that colleagues will give more details of their involvement in the comments section and I will update the post as needed!

Institute of Integrative Biology Exhibit

Daria Pastock, Chris Corbin, Amy Eacok

In the comments section, please add details of the activities that were on the stand and the people involved, thanks!

Project Patient 0

Beth Levick, Cassandra Raby, and Amanda Minter.

Beth and her team ran an amazing project on infection spread. In the end, they had 120 individual participants recorded over 40 different groups. They are planning to do further analysis of the data so watch this space!

Beth, let me know in the comments everyone who was involved, the number of people infected, etc (feel free also to write a separate post just about this project if you wish!).

Judge of the NSEC regional heat competition

Raphaël Lévy 

I had been invited by former student Zoe Chapman, communication officer for MerseySTEM to judge projects. It was good fun. I learnt about black holes, hydrophobic coatings, the hydrodynamics of cycle helmets, throrium as the future (?)of energy production, and a few essential science tricks to survive in case of an (infectious) apocalypse.

The judging team:

Aquaponics Jens Thomas, Paul Myers and Dan Groom

Jens, Paul and Dan  from Farm Urban had a beautiful stand next to the main stage showing off their new @VydroFarm growing system and demonstrating their “Build Your Own” aquaponics systems for schools. Although the VydroFarm can grow 140 lettuces every 28 days and glows a psychedelic pink with its full spectrum Valoya grow lights, it had trouble competing with fishy and fishy; the two goldfish in our aquaponics system named by Paul’s two-year old daughter. It was a great day and we had a tremendous amount of interest in our systems and workshops. During our spare time we learnt how to milk a cow, extract DNA from strawberry’s and discussed the potential mechanisms through which caterpillars may change colour.

‘Meet the Future You’

Kate Hammond

Kate Hammond took part in the ‘Meet the Future You’ event organised by Tomorrows Engineers. Students got the chance to quiz a group of STEM professionals about our careers, including Kate (a lecturer in Genetics and Molecular Biology), an engineer from Landrover and Sarah who designs nuclear reactors for submarines (very cool!). The students asked us everything from what we do each day, to what inspired us to take up our career to, most crucially, how much we get paid.

Kate Hammond at the

Kate Hammond at the “Meet the Future You” event #BigBangNW

Life Sciences Outreach Society

Juhi Gupta, Hannah Sharp, Lauren Evans, Sapphire Rogers, Ant Smith, Amal Abdulkadhir, Hannah Smallwood and Amy Gillespie. Dr Hammond helped with the set up of the workshops.

Children at the Life Sciences stall at the Big Bang North West

Children at the Life Sciences stall at the Big Bang North West

Juhi says:

Us students from the Life Sciences Outreach Society joined in with the fun and excitement at this year’s fantastic Big Bang Fair! Returning for a second year, with the DNA Sweet Models and Strawberry DNA extraction workshops, we inspired yet more merseyside pupils. We got lots of great feedback from both the staff and pupils intrigued by our science – we certainly had lots of fun too!

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5 thoughts on “The Big Bang North West

  1. Raphael,

    PP0 is run by myself, Amanda Minter and Cass Raby, In the end we had 120 individual participants recorded over 40 different groups. I need to recheck the final infection numbers but I can update you. In either case, we’re planning to go on and do some further analysis/modeling with the data set so I can fill you in as that grows!

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  2. Us students from the Life Sciences Outreach Society joined in with the fun and excitement at this year’s fantastic Big Bang Fair! Returning for a second year, with the DNA Sweet Models and Strawberry DNA extraction workshops, we inspired yet more merseyside pupils. We got lots of great feedback from both the staff and pupils intrigued by our science – we certainly had lots of fun too!

    Like

  3. What a great day it was! Thank you to everyone involved! It was so nice to see so many representatives from the University of Liverpool involved in so many different ways! We (at MerseySTEM) have had so much positive feedback that we will be sharing with you all soon and we hope that you had as much fun as we all had!
    On a personal note, I’d like to thank Kate Hammond and Raphael Levy for coming down to be involved upon my invitation and also to Mieke DeLathouwers (University of Liverpool Public Engagement Officer for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences) for coming and experiencing the event! Another big thank you to Beth Levick (ScienceGrrl Liverpool co-captain), Chris Corbin, Cassandra Raby, Amanda Minter, Daria Pastock and Amy Eacock for brilliant activities – even if the idea of getting close to moths terrifies me slightly! Very proud of Project Patient Zero too – it’s come a long way since Threshold Festival 2014! Smashing work, ladies!
    Here’s to next year’s Big Bang NW and hopefully to working with you all again in one way or another in the meantime!
    Zoë

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks Zoë; great organisation!
    Beth, Juhi, thanks for the comments, I’ll update later or tomorrow. Juhi, could you add one more comment with the names of the students involved?

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  5. Big thumbs up for everybody involved in the Big Bang Fair! It was my first visit and it was great to see the University of Liverpool so well represented. The enthusiasm and passion with which you interacted with the pupils/students was contagious. Apart from the activities mentioned in this post, there were also inspiring contributions of Laura Bonnett of the Department of Biostatistics and her colleagues of the Institute of Translational Medicine – in collaboration with the Royal Statistical Society, and ants enthusiast Tom Bishop and his fellow PhD-students from the Department of Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences (School of Environmental Sciences).

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