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National Big Bang 2013

My experiences at The Big Bang Fair - by Imogen, year 8 pupil at Felsted

My name is Imogen and I am 12 years old and last year, two of my school friends and I were lucky enough to have our project , relating to how effective hair straightening products are, chosen to be taken forward to represent the East Anglia region at the National Finals of the Big Bang Fair.  After learning this exciting news in July, we spent the next 8 months perfecting our project and taking our scientific tests even further to make sure that we were in the best position to compete with the other talented scientists from around Great Britain that would be making up this prestigious event.  We even arranged for a trip to a well-known cosmetics brand, to learn for ourselves what kind of tests big manufacturers did on their own products to ensure they were safe for the general public to use. 

We set off to London on Wednesday 13th March 2013 with butterflies in our stomachs, keen to showcase our work to the crowds of visitors and judges that would be visiting the Excel Centre in London over the next few days.  After a welcome presentation that evening to over 400 finalists, competing for prizes in many different categories,  we spent the next couple of hours setting up our stand (with a quick glimpse around at the other amazing projects that we were up against!)

The next day, the Fair opened at 9am and we were ready and waiting on our stand to welcome visitors and to explain our findings.  Our project was judged 3 times, once by our main judges, the second time by a moderator and finally by a team of judges for the Science Museum communication prize. The rest of the day was left to us to do what we wanted which included presenting our project to the 15000 visitors who were visiting the fair, before taking a little time out to visit the other projects and activities that were available to us, many of which were sponsored by large companies such as Siemens and the NHS.

On the final day of our stay at the Excel we were judged once more for the ‘real world context’ prize, in which we were down to the final few projects, but found out later that we had been unsuccessful in this, but this didn’t matter one bit by the time the day had finished!  During that day, we were given more time to look around the fair and watch some of the shows including a ‘meet the celebrity judges’ event just for the finalists. That evening, after a wonderful pre-awards dinner just for the competitors and their teachers, we all went along to the awards ceremony and my team and I waited nervously, along with several other groups of young people, to find out the winner of the 12-14 year old age category for Science and Maths. When we heard our names announced as the overall winners of this category, we were ecstatic and hurriedly mounted the steps to the stage to claim our prize money and trophy.  The feeling of standing up on stage, having our photo taken by so many people, is one that will stay with me forever.  We all went home feeling very proud and unable to stop smiling, after a very successful few days.

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