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Big Science Event goes off with a Big Bang!

Professor John Kilcoyne with students David Mueller and Liam Wilson

Sunderland College’s Big Science Event went off with a big bang thanks to some hair-raising experiments and wacky activities.

Hundreds of youngsters attended the college’s annual event which is designed to showcase the career options available to people who study scientific subjects.

The Big Science Event featured guest talks, scientific demonstrations, wild and wacky activities, and information stands to encourage young people to explore the world of science.

Celebrated scientist Professor Jenny Clack, who discovered the evolutionary link between sea and land animals, was one of the esteemed guest speakers at the event.

Other contributors included TV’s Brainiac professor John Kilcoyne, from Sunderland University, who performed a range of chemistry experiments, and Newcastle University’s Street Science Team, who used common household objects to create entertaining and simple science experiments.

Fourteen-year-old, Bethany Willis, a pupil at St Bede’s Primary School, tried out the college’s Van de Graaff generator which had some hair-raising results. She said: “I really enjoy science at school, especially physics, and I would like a job in astronomy when I’m older. The Big Science Event was really interesting and I found out more about a career in astronomy – there was lots of information and advice at the event.”

Kate Thynne, aged 17, is a Sunderland College student who is taking A-Levels in physics, chemistry, biology and maths. She said: “The Big Science Event was really good, and there was a wide variety of activities on offer. I would like to study a biomedical course at university and then I hope to work as a biomedical researcher when I graduate. It has been really interesting to find out about the other careers available – there are a lot more career options in science than I originally thought.”

Many of the event contributors were former Sunderland College students who now work in the field of science, including Danny Morland, a consultant anaesthetist at the Royal Victoria Infirmary; Alistair Ford, a lecturer in geomatics at Newcastle University; Caroline Rudland, a senior medical physicist at Sunderland Royal Hospital; and Alison Brundle, a scientist at Northumbrian Water.

Representatives from Sunderland University, Durham University, Newcastle University and Dundee University were also on hand to offer advice and guidance.

Marianne Hill, Sunderland College’s curriculum leader of science and maths, said: “This year’s Big Science Event was a great success.  We welcomed a range of prestigious scientists, who thoroughly enjoyed sharing their passion and enthusiasm for science.

“The event included a range of demonstrations, talks, displays and activities, all of which created an exciting and inspirational atmosphere.

“Many of the scientists who come along to this annual event are former students who have achieved great success in their careers – they enjoy helping future generations and explaining their career paths.

“We were pleased to see so many young people come along with their parents, particularly pupils from our partner schools. The event will show that the study of science can lead to a wide variety of exciting and diverse careers.”

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