The Big Bang Fair 2012

15 Mar - 17 Mar - National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham

The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair is the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths for young people in the UK. The Society is proud to be one of the sponsors of this fantastic event and to sit on its stakeholders committee.

Overview

Overview

The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair is the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths for young people in the UK. The Society for General Microbiology is proud to be one of the sponsors of this fantastic event and to sit on its stakeholders' committee.

In addition to sitting on the stakeholders’ committee each year, the Society puts on a hands-on science activity in the Body Talk area of the show floor. Our activity for 2012 was entitled ‘The Good, the Bad and the Algae’.

Algae are often overlooked by the public and scientists alike and are not recognised as the important micro-organisms that they are. But algae are vital to us all, - as a major producer of oxygen, a potential source of ‘green’ biofuels, and for their products which are put to a surprising range of uses. On the other hand, algal blooms and biofilm formation can cause serious destruction in water courses, and on buildings and statues. Algae are fascinating to look at and easy to find under a microscope – for ‘micro’-organisms they are relatively large! Attendees to the Big Bang event will be presented with nine ‘unknown’ species of algae; each will be chosen due to its distinctive shape or characteristics. Along with the unknown algae visitors will be provided with an easy-to-use identification key. The participants will then be shown how to use a light microscope, prepare their slides and will be challenged to identify the mystery species. Further discussion about algae and their surprising uses in our everyday lives will follow the identification of the sample species.

Round-up

Big Bang 2012 was a great success! Thank you to all the teachers and pupils who came along and huge thanks are due to all of our wonderful volunteers who made the event such a success! If you are interested in seeing how we got on, there is a short write up in the May 2012 issue of Microbiology Today. More photographs of this event are available to view on our Facebook page.

Big Bang Fair