My visit to Duxford as a competition judge at the Big Bang Eastern Fair 2011.
At 8:15am I was one of many people waiting to get into Duxford AirSpace Museum to play our part in the Big Bang Eastern Fair. Waiting were fellow judges, exhibitors, teachers and school children carrying their Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) projects.
The 90 or so competition judges were briefed while the children and their teachers set up their projects to be judged for one of the many awards on offer. During the judging session for the STEM clubs’ showcase I spoke to seven different teams. It was wonderful to meet so many young people as passionate and full of enthusiasm about the STEM subjects as the STEM Ambassadors, Teachers, Scientists and Science Communicators present. I saw STEM club stands displaying projects and demonstrations of amongst other things: a single seat electric car entered into the Greenpower competition; a demonstration of the adhesive power of melted boiled sweets; and the kit used by a school club to display an image of the Sun, which they used to record the position of Sun spots over time, this in turn was used to calculate the rotational rate of the Sun and its ‘day length’.
Judges worked in pairs, and our official duties were completed by giving our score sheets to the organisers; to collate and moderate the scores given in each category. Once this was finalised it was time for the winners to be announced at the awards ceremony. The winners are listed on the Big Bang Eastern website. Well done to everyone who presented projects and congratulations to the winners!
During the afternoon I had enough time to spare to allow me to look around the museum, which is well worth the trip to Duxford, especially if you are interested in aircraft. I was also able to realise a long held ambition to ‘go’ on Concorde! AirSpace has a Concorde in the museum and visitors are able to walk up steps, enter the front passenger door, walk through the cabin and exit via steps at the back of the plane. The inside is certainly smaller than I expected, although there would have been plenty of leg room for passengers when the plane was in operation. However, the view over the wing itself was awesome, as I have previously only seen the plane in flight at a distance. It is without doubt an amazing example of the application of engineering and technology, even now. This was for me a fantastic end to a lovely day out, and I look forward to going to more Big Bang Fairs next year.