Our rapidly changing economy places ever-greater demands on the skills of our workforce.
Concerns about the provision of Engineers and Engineering skills are increasing.
This is compounded in the RACHP industry due to its rising average age & lack of technical and specialist skills in applicants


Cool Science

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Cool Science proved to be a big hit at the 2015 Big Bang Fair, the largest UK youth event which attracted over 75,000 young scientists & engineers, teachers, parents & STEM professionals.

Everything The Big Bang Fair does is aimed at showing young people (primarily aged 7-19) just how many exciting and rewarding opportunities there are out there for them with the right experience and qualifications. Big Bang work with partner organisations across business and industry, government and academia to try and give a flavour of the real scale of engineering and science in the UK. At its heart Big Bang is about careers and futures and highlighting the exciting possibilities that exist for young people with science, technology, engineering and maths backgrounds. It’s about the contribution they, with the right motivation, can make to the UK economy and to society in general. The Big Bang Fair seemed the perfect place to showcase Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pumps as one of these exciting possibilities; and this is exactly what Cool Science did!

The 25sqm Cool Science stand had a prime location to showcase the RACHP industry amongst the 170 stands, it gained an incredible amount of attention from visitors and interacted with over 12,000 young people over 4 incredibly busy days.

Cool Science also received significant press attention, media coverage and VIP visitors. This included the Big Bang Fair official launch press shoot on the Cool Science stand, Associated Press, CBBC Newsround, TV’s Marty Jopson, and a visit from the Science Minister Greg Clarke MP.

The Cool Science stand proved a huge draw, with its eye-catching design and a fantastic range of fun interactive areas. This attracted a constant swarm of visitors and a led to a remarkable level of engagement with young people, interested to learn more about the science behind Refrigeration. A common theme was learning that refrigeration is something most people don’t realize how much they rely on, let alone that it can provide an interesting career.

The Cool Science team worked hard to make the exhibits relevant and educational as well as importantly being interactive and hands-on. Engaging young people in a practical way is the best way to open their minds to careers which they may not have considered before, such as the Cooling industry.

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The areas of the stand included 4 members of the Mad Science team with dry ice experiments, adding some theatre to draw the passing visitors to the stand. The stand also featured 2 fantastic bespoke hand-built bicycle-powered refrigeration machines (aka. ‘The Refrigeration Cycle’ #BicyCool), designed and hand built by Dr. Ed Hammond of ECH Engineering. The harder you pedal, the colder it goes, and the large LED temperature displays above the rider encouraged some friendly competition! This was a great demonstration of a vapour compression refrigeration system; its components, the energy input required, and the cooling (& heating) effect.

Also proving very popular was the hand-made ‘Cool Science’ sign, spelt out by frosty pipework: this was a very tactile exhibit for young people to see and feel cooling in action. Also on the stand to explain more about it was the engineer who built it: Stuart Blackman of AB Group.

Another big draw was the 2m video-wall linked to a hi-res Thermal Imaging camera. Showing off the Cool parts of the stand, the camera was also mobile, being able to reveal what’s hot and what’s not. This vivid thermographic colour proved a very engaging way for visitors to very clearly visualize the cooling and heating happening, from parts of the BicyCool to stand visitors and their hands fresh from gripping the frozen Cool Science sign.

In addition there was an iPad wall running an interactive Cool Science quiz (also available on the Cool Science website).

Other parts of the stand had slideshows about Fantastic Fridges, a new website for young people from the IoR. Slides also explained the new Apprenticeship Standard for RACHP engineers, which was launched by the government during the same week as the Big Bang Fair. Also on show was the World Skills UK RAC team to demonstrate the aspirational avenues available to be recognized worldwide for skills in this industry.

The Cool Science stand was staffed by over 20 keen young engineering volunteers from RACHP companies who engaged with the visitors, encouraging them to ask questions and informing them about how to find out more about the Cool Science behind our industry and the career routes available. President of the Institute of Refrigeration, Graeme Maidment, spent the day on the Cool Science stand and was impressed with what was achieved (quote below).

The huge success of the inaugural Cool Science event at The 2015 Big Bang Fair has provided a fantastic springboard for Cool Science to continue. During and since the Fair, Cool Science has been approached to be involved in national science fairs and festivals, Engineering Schools’ programs, national events for STEM education trusts, education charities and even to be part of the education platform for SSC Bloodhound Education Program.

With further support from the sector, Cool Science hopes to be back at the Big Bang Fair in 2016 and also participate in more events to continue to engage and inspire a younger and wider audience to join our important industry.

Quotes from visitors

Download Press Release (PDF)

Image Gallery (Flickr)

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