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Coding, cars and cryogenics: exploring engineering at STFC

Secondary school students explored engineering at ISIS Neutron and Muon Source (ISIS), taking in activities, tours and a ‘Fizz Bang Zap’ show, giving a flavour of real-world engineering at ISIS.

The Exploring Engineering Day at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory saw 55 Year 8 and 9 students from local schools getting hands-on. A LEGO Mindstorm coding activity that involved programming a LEGO robot to recognise colours and follow various mapped routes gave the Key Stage 3 students the opportunity to develop their coding skills. The next activity involved students competing to build the best solar car. Working in teams, students cut and stuck together cardboard, wheels and axles to then race their vehicles.

Students got the very rare opportunity to visit ISIS’ experimental hall to learn about the incredible engineering that goes on at the facility, and ISIS engineers demonstrated how liquid nitrogen can be used to freeze flowers, glow sticks and fruit.

The engineering extravaganza finished with the fantastic ‘Fizz Bang Zap’ show from accelerator physicist Scott Lawrie, exploring lightning, particle accelerators and even musical instruments. The show featured Scott’s very own invention: The Sparkophone, an instrument that plays notes of different pitches using electricity!

This is one of the many events organised by Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) to inspire the next generation of engineers and promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.

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Last updated: 17 May 2019


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