The Big Bang Fair 15-17 March 2012

6838-big-bang-fair-3-columnWelcome to University of Birmingham @ the Big Bang Fair! Over the three days of the fair we will have a variety of activities for you to get involved in, covering the science of different areas of the body.

You can burn off calories, check how clean your mouth is, challenge Andy, learn about Cancer (no pinching our strawberries!), learn about the liver and get visual with our Opthamologists. Quite a variety, I think you’ll agree! All of our activities will be staffed by scientists and students from the University of Birmingham and they’re really looking forward to the event!

The Big Bang Fair will be held at the National Exhibition Centre, in Birmingham

Come over and see us - our stand is in the Body Talk zone.

Have a look below to find out more about what you can do on our stand and on which days.

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Dancing the Science Way - Thursday 15, Friday 16

day122We’ll measure your heart, weight, body composition and metabolic age. Then we’ll fit you with a heart rate monitor and ask you to get dancing!

After 5 minutes of strutting your stuff on special dance mats we’ll tell you how much energy you’ve used up and compare them to other activities to prove just how healthy dancing can be!

Related staff: Dr Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences.

How Clean is your mouth? - Thursday 15

Well, how clean is your mouth? You might think that when you’ve finished eating, your mouth is empty. Think again!

Find out what’s going on in your mouth on our stand when we’ll take samples from your mouth before and after using antiseptic mouthwash. We’ll even let you test the pH of your mouth and show your own bacteria wiggling around on our screen.

Related staff: Dr Robin May, School of Biosciences and Dr Melissa Grant, School of Dentistry

Taste the Difference - Friday 16, Saturday 17

TribometerIf you like dairy products, this activity is for you. Come along and sample milk, cream and yoghurt and describe to use which is creamier.

We’ll then compare your opinion to Andy’s! Andy is our tribometer – a special instrument that will tell how creamy something is by measuring friction. Andy’s eyes change depending on how creamy the sample. Blink and you’ll miss it!

Cancer Awareness Activities - Friday 16

community-day-strawberrTake part in our Cancer Awareness activities by mashing up strawberries and extracting their DNA. Our scientists will explain the role of DNA in cancer.

You can also have a look at some real cancer cells through a microscope and learn about the amazing work we do at the University to help fight this common disease.

A Sight for Sore Eyes - Saturday 17

Eye trackerTake a close look at the eye and see how vulnerable they are to infection. Have a go at diagnosing the root cause of an infection and suggesting a possible treatment.

You might even get a chocolate eye ball for your trouble.

Related staff: Dr. Alistair Denniston, School of Dentistry.

Look after your liver and it will look after you - Saturday 17

Learn just how important it is that this vital organ works properly. You can diagnose liver disease by observing real tissue under a video microscope and can even put on some medical examination gloves and have a feel around a ‘mock’ liver. You will come away knowing much more about the liver and how to ensure yours will stay healthy for many years!

Related staff: Dr. Patricia Lalor, School of Immunity and Infection.

Am I an Ape? - Thursday 15, Friday 16

day016Find out what’s different between you and your closest cousins, the great apes. Dr Jeremy Pritchard and Dr Susannah Thorpe from the School of Biosciences explore the major features of human evolution 6.5 million years ago and gives you the chance to find out who the best chimp walker is in the audience.

Learn more at the Birg Bang Fair event webpage.

Change your World - Thursday 15, Friday 16

Act out what goes on inside an electric circuit, become part of a mobile phone and imagine technology that would make your life better. Find out how you can Change Your World with Dr Tim Jackson from the School of Electronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Learn more at the Birg Bang Fair event webpage.

The Big Food Challenge (BPS stand) - Friday 16

  • Psychology of snackingHow well can you guess which glass has the largest amount of fluid in it?
  • How much does a food’s smell affect how much you like that food?
  • How does the look of food and its packaging impact on the price that you would be willing to pay for it?

This will be a fun demonstration of the research we are undertaking within the School of Psychology into how people make choices about the food they buy and eat.

Related Staff: Dr. Suzanne Higgs, School of Psychology.

Partner Organisation: The British Psychological Society (BPS).

The Big Bounce Challenge (BPS stand) - Friday 16

How well can you keep in time when bouncing up and down in a group? We will measure your timing skills to see who can maintain the most consistent ‘beat’ and who remains the most synchronised with the rest of the group.

This will be a fun demonstration of the research we are doing into how people synchronise their movements with each other, either spontaneously, such as falling into step with the person you are walking with, or intentionally, such as an ensemble of musicians.

Related Staff: Dr. Mark Elliott and Prof Alan Wing. SyMoN Lab, School of Psychology.

Partner Organisation: The British Psychological Society (BPS).

Visualising the invisible (IOP Stand, The Next Factor zone) - Thursday 15, Friday 16 and Saturday 17

Play black hole pong, see a brain light up and draw your own Feynman zoo creature while finding out how physics affects every part of your life.






Related Staff: Dr Cristina Lazzeroni (Particle Physics) and Dr Andreas Freise (Gravitational Waves).

Partner Organisation: Institute of Physics (IOP).

Learn more at the Big Bang Fair event webpage.


Learn more

For more information about our stand at the Big Bang Fair, please contact our stand organisers:


Robbie Roberts 

+44 (0)121 414 2520 (9041)


Corrina Kimberley

+44 (0)121 414 6544 (2550)


For more general information about The Big Bang fair please visit