The UK’s largest young people’s science and engineering fair is to receive special recognition for its work in promoting engineering.

The Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair is to be awarded the 2012 Rooke Medal by the Royal Academy of Engineering in recognition of its success in communicating the excitement of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to young people and inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Three individuals will receive the Rooke Medal on behalf of the Big Bang fair, which is led by EngineeringUK in partnership with a number of STEM organisations, at the Academy's annual awards dinner at the Royal Opera House on 26 June 2012.

Paul Jackson, CEO of EngineeringUK and Event Director Jeremy Buckle will accept the medal. They will be joined by Sir Anthony Cleaver HonFREng, who developed the vision of the fair to inspire the next generation of students to consider careers in STEM.

Over 56,000 people visited the 2012 fair, which took place in March at Birmingham’s NEC, to meet engineers and scientists from UK companies and universities as well as TV personalities and Olympic athletes. This annual event has shown tremendous growth since the inaugural fair in 2009, and now attracts over four times as many visitors as it did in its first year.

Supporting the nomination, Robert Kirby-Harris, Secretary General at the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) said: “The Big Bang has fostered strong links between industry, education professionals and the public sector to the extent that it has reached long-term sustainability and has built brand awareness on a national and regional political and media scale. It is also in the process of transforming through its physical, web and media presence in to a full year, pan-UK operation.”

The Times reported that the fair gave the teaching of science and engineering “a welcome jolt of energy,” while BBC Breakfast said: “When you come to a fun place like this you start to realise all the fun things you can do with science.”

The fair hosts the National Science & Engineering Competition as well as other prizes. It is also expanding regionally with Big Bang Near Me events, designed to reach and inspire more young people.

Delivered by over 170 organisations from the public, private and voluntary sectors, The Big Bang Fair is led by Engineering UK in partnership with the British Science Association, the Institute of Physics, the Science Council, the Royal Academy of Engineering and Young Engineers. It is supported by The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills as well as industry sponsors.

Previous winners of the Rooke Medal include computer science champion Professor Chris Bishop FREng FRSE, the team behind Walking with Robots, children's TV star Dr Johnny Ball and the man who 'propped up' the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Professor John Burland FREng.

Notes for editors

  1. The Rooke Medal for the Public Promotion of Engineering is awarded to an individual, small team or organisation who has contributed to the Academy's aims and work through their initiative in promoting engineering to the public. The medal is named in honour of the late Sir Denis Rooke OM CBE FRS FREng, a former President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and one of the UK's most distinguished engineers. As Chairman of British Gas, his legacy was to build the UK's gas distribution network and unite the gas industry, making domestic gas a cheap and convenient fuel source for millions of people. He later became Chancellor of Loughborough University and served on many national advisory committees on both energy policy and education.
  2. 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

For more information please contact

Sarah Griffiths at The Royal Academy of Engineering
Tel. 020 7766 0655