The University of Nottingham hosts annual Engineering Christmas Lecture

13 Dec 2012 10:48:39.823

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Hundreds of school children from across the region will get an entertaining and exciting insight into engineering at The University of Nottingham’s annual Engineering Christmas Lecture.

Over 400 schoolchildren aged between 14 and 16 will attend this popular event on the 19 December, with this years’ theme being solids, liquids and gases.

Prior to the lecture, pupils can take part in a variety of interactive demonstrations and engage with engineering staff and researchers from the University. The energetic sessions will bring particle theory to life through a range of activities which demonstrate how solids, liquids and gases are interchangeable as a result of increases or decreases in heat energy. 
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Demonstrations include a five foot volcano, metals that revert to their original shape when subjected to heat and the workings of hydrogen fuel cells. Experts will be on hand to explain the science behind them.

Inspiring children

The event is part of the University’s popular engineering outreach programme aimed at inspiring children to study engineering at university. The University offers a range of taster days and workshops where young people get hands-on with a wide range of engineering disciplines including electrical, electronic, civil, mechanical and chemical engineering and architecture.  Taster days often include tours of campus and visits to labs and the University’s unique low energy houses.

STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) are subjects that the government has identified as being absolutely critical to the UK’s future prosperity and global competitiveness. Whilst the sciences, design and technology and maths are all studied at school, many pupils have misconceptions regarding engineering. Events like these are designed around recent technological advances and build on the students' science, mathematics, teamwork and communication skills.

Engineers of the future

Jill Minter, Marketing Manager for the Faculty of Engineering, said: “Engineering is cool — that’s the message we want to get across to young people. It’s about changing the way we live and the world we live in. It’s exciting and dynamic but often very misunderstood in schools.

“We want to bring to life the dry and unexciting mathematics and science concepts children learn in school. By using hands-on activities and seeing live demonstrations, children can better conceptualise and transfer their understanding of what they read about in workbooks and textbooks.”

Children and teachers from 15 schools are coming to campus for the lecture and demonstrations will be provided by staff and researchers from the Faculty of Engineering using examples drawn from their own research, including:

 How the solidity of Bitumen reacts to heat, softening to a liquid or becoming brittle which causes road surfacing problems

 Seeing the gas given off  by mixing yeast, sugar and water by inflating a balloon with CO2

 how a real life volcano reacts using a miniature model

 Seeing our SCORE stove in action, converting wood into heat into sound energy and creating electricity

Demonstrations will be given by Professor David Grant, Dr Xuesen Zeng, Dr Nick Thom, Dr George Rice, the ‘whynotchemeng’ society, and Dr Sam Tang.

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has 40,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘the world’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking 2011.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2011, for its research into global food security.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fund-raising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news

Tim Utton

Tim Utton - Deputy Director of Communications

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 846 8092 Location: University Park

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