A simple mix of sugar and water can bend a laser beam

Big Bang science celebration on campus

University of Exeter academics are gearing up to share their enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering and maths at a major regional event.

The Big Bang South West will take place on Streatham Campus on Thursday 28 June.

South West students from more than 80 schools and colleges are entering projects and showcasing their work, and will attend science shows and visit an interactive exhibitions arena.

University of Exeter staff from Physics, Biosciences, Geography, Psychology, Sport Sciences, Engineering, Computer Science and more are taking part. 

The Astrophysics Group will be examining planets around other stars, direct transmissions from space, and finding out if alien worlds sink or swim. The Electromagnetic Materials Group’s work on spatial transformations and metamaterials are at the heart of exciting ideas such as invisibility cloaking and optical illusion. They will also demonstrate ‘light bending water’ and a ‘liquid of balls’.    

Chatbots, X rays, experiments with graphene, and engineering applications of strain gauge sensors will be also hoping to excite young minds. The use of computer science in solving hard problems will be showcased, with an example of finding the shortest route touring all the schools in Devon.   

The Big Bang South West hosts 17 competitions including CREST Award prizes, STEM communicator prizes and many more. The event will also host regional heats of the National Science & Engineering Competition where 10 of the brightest young sparks from the South West will be nominated to compete nationally. 

Deborah Waddell, Partnership Manager of Devon Education Business Partnership who organise Big Bang South West says: “The interest in The Big Bang South West this year has been phenomenal. Young people will see just how many exciting and rewarding opportunities there are in science, technology, engineering and maths. Using four locations at the University of Exeter, we have added a glitzy award ceremony to honour the achievements of students and have received excellent support from the business community and from partners to stage the event.”

Date: 26 June 2012