Staff and students get young people involved in science at the Big Bang Fair

Posted on Thursday 22nd March 2012

Mark Elliot explains just what this ‘Big Bang Bounce’ is all aboutFrom 15-17 March a group of staff and students from the School were demonstrating some of their exciting research at the national Big Bang Fair. The annual event is aimed at young people across the UK and encourages them to get involved in science, maths and engineering. The event hosts a variety of fun science based activities, all run by enthusiastic scientists, mathematicians and engineers. This year over 40,000 children attended across the three days, and activities run by the School (and featured on the British Psychological Society stand) proved to be very popular.

The BBC representatives take part in the Big Bang Bounce

The 'big bang bounce' challenge, led by Dr Mark Elliott and Professor Alan Wing, required groups of four to bounce up and down in time together. The groups were provided with scores and statistics showing who kept best in time within the group and who had the most consistent bounce. Dr Mark Elliott, a research fellow in the School, commented "the 100 or so groups of children who took part seemed to have great fun doing the bouncing challenge and finding out who was the best at synchronising their bounces. For us as researchers, it was a great opportunity to collect a large amount of data over a short period. Synchrony of movements can often occur within a group of people. The data collected will help us to understand how and when synchrony is maintained within a group".

Dr Suzanne Higgs led the 'big food challenge', which got children to answer questions such as 'how well can you guess which glass has the largest amount of fluid in it?' and 'how much does a food’s smell affect how much you like that food?', and explored how people make choices about the food they buy and eat. Iraida Neria, who helped on the stand commented:  'The event had a great energy about it. The kids were so excited and interested in the demonstrations that it made explaining the science behind things easy and fun!'

The School received excellent feedback from teachers, school children and the British Psychological Society.

Find out more about the Big Bang Fair.