Wall-climbing robot detectives and computers that give rock bands the edge - these are among the many projects that thousands of young people will get their hands on at this year’s Big Bang Fair, the UK’s biggest celebration of science and engineering.

The Royal Academy of Engineering’s exhibition zone will be one of many exciting interactive spaces at the Fair, which runs from March 10-12 at London’s ExCel. The zone will allow students of all ages to interact with the exhibits, take part in activities and experiments and talk to leading engineering researchers from London South Bank University and Queen Mary, University of London.

‘Sherlock Holmes meets Spiderman’ is how a new generation of robotics is being billed – machines that perform a number of crucial roles that humans cannot undertake themselves, such as checking the integrity of aeroplane fuselages or the floors of liquid storage tanks. Visitors will get to act as detectives and operate one of the cutting-edge robots to see if there are defects in a steel wall using its powers of ‘seeing’ through metal.

Students will also get the chance to release their inner musician with B-Keeper, an interactive drumming experience that demonstrates the power of advanced computing. Instead of playing along to an automatic ‘click-track’, the B-Keeper software keeps in time with the band, bringing back the feel of live music.

The Big Bang Fair is also the venue for the finale for the UK’s National Science and Engineering Competition, which has over 150 projects exhibiting at the Fair and more than 300 student competitors taking part. The Royal Academy of Engineering Prize goes to the individual or team whose project demonstrates the best application of engineering principles. The awards ceremony will be hosted by particle physicist and TV presenter Professor Brian Cox.

All competitors will get the opportunity to take part in the first ever National Academies balloon debates, run by the Academy and the Royal Society. An engineer, industrialist, scientist and teacher will try to win approval of the students to stay in the hot air balloon. Finally, the National Academies Quest will let young visitors and their families meet some of the UK’s top researchers.

Philip Greenish, Chief Executive of the Academy said: “The Big Bang Fair is one of the most exciting events in our calendar as it allows us to show the excitement of engineering and its relevance to society as well as show the range of careers available.

“We expect around 25,000 people at the Fair; not just students but their parents and teachers too. A recent survey showed that two-thirds of parents hold back from encouraging their children to be engineers due to their own lack of understanding of the opportunities available. A third also consider engineering to be best suited to boys.

“It is our role to show that engineering is a great career option for girls and boys and the exhibits, activities, workshops, theatre shows and presentations at the Big Bang Fair are the perfect way to get this message across.”

For more information, visit  www.thebigbangfair.co.uk

Notes for editors

  1. The Royal Academy of Engineering

    Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.
  2. The Big Bang Fair

    Launched in 2009, The Big Bang: UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair is the UK’s biggest single celebration of science and engineering for young people and aims to celebrate and inspire them. Involving over 110 organisations from across the private, public and voluntary sectors, and reaching out to schools and students across the country, The Big Bang represents a true partnership of the UK’s science and engineering communities. The event is led by EngineeringUK in partnership with the British Science Association, the Institute of Physics, the Science Council, the Royal Academy of Engineering and Young Engineers.

For more information please contact

Ed Holmes at The Royal Academy of Engineering
020 7766 0655