Figures reveal that 22,545 people attended this year's Big Bang: UK Young Scientists’ and Engineers’ Fair in Manchester; more than three times as many as the 6,500 who attended the inaugural Fair in 2009. Shell was a major sponsor of the Fair for this second year, with visitors including 400 Shell staff and their families.
Matthias Bichsel, Shell's Director for Projects & Technology, gave a keynote speech at the VIP dinner, and Shell graduates on our exhibition stand engaged with students about the energy challenge and the science, technology, engineering and maths skills needed to work in a company like Shell.
The Fair, which features the prestigious National Science & Engineering Competition, and is thought to be the largest single celebration of science and engineering aimed exclusively at children and young people, this year attracted:
- 15,469 children and young people
- 4,118 parents, guardians and teachers
- 312 National Science & Engineering Competition entrants
- 110 partners and sponsors including Astra Zeneca, BAE Systems, Shell and Siemens.
Attendees were split approximately 50:50 across the gender divide and special guests included Lord Mandelson, Olympic gold medallist Amy Williams, the BBC’s Jem Stansfield, Liz Bonnin and entire Bang Goes the Theory team, Professor Jim Al-Khalili, Professor Marcus du Sautoy, Resident Blue Peter Science Expert Steve Mould, Kate Bellingham and Curtis the Madagascan Lemur of ‘Fierce Creatures’ Fame.
Activities aside from the Shell stand included welding with chocolate, exploring the human genome, building a supersmart lego robot and challenging the Wigan Warriors to produce enough green energy to cook their own breakfasts.
Jem Stansfield, Presenter of BBC’s Bang Goes the Theory, and creator of the coffee-powered car, said: “It was just amazing. There were so many kids there, it was insane. Some of their favourite things were welding with chocolate and testing their reflexes against Formula One’s Jenson Button’s. On the whole, it was just a really good day.”
Sally Gold, Head of Shell’s UK Social Investment, said: “It has been fantastic for Shell to be a part of a national event like this. All the Shell team who have given their time to be here have put a huge amount of effort and energy into the show. We hope that the students left the Big Bang with a clearer understanding of where their energy comes from and have started to think creatively about how this could change in the future – and most importantly, the value of STEM skills".