Big bang @ Weston

One of the great things about the STP is the opportunity to take part in public engagement and STEM activities. One of the highlights of the year is when “Big Bang” season comes around. For those of you who don’t know, the Big Bang Fairs happen across the country and are an opportunity for students and the public to find out about all the different careers in STEM industries. They aim to be really interactive and hands-on and are an amazing opportunity to promote healthcare science to young people, parents and teachers. Recently, Exeter-based genomic counselling trainee, Harriet Copeland, organised a South West contingent of trainees to attend the Big Bang Fair in Weston-Super-Mare, and below is her account of what they got up to. If anyone else has any stories from a Big Bang fair they’ve attended please get in touch!

Trainee scientists on the NHS Scientist Training Programme attended the Big Bang Fair at Weston, an event that aims to inspire children aged 11-17 to engage with STEM subjects and consider careers within this field. The event attracted many students, teachers and parents from Somerset and the South West, with a range of activities, competitions and stands representing a wide variety of STEM careers. As part of the South West Healthcare Science Trainee Network (SWHCSTN), six trainee scientists from a range of specialisms designed activities to show the variety of science roles within the NHS and how each role benefits patients.


The activities included a colourful origami activity to demonstrate the folding of DNA into a double helix and a karyotyping activity to show how our chromosomes are arranged. Students also had the opportunity to listen to their own pulse with a Doppler machine and used equipment to measure their heart rate and heart electrical activity.  

The team did a brilliant job throughout the day, and the interactive activities enabled students of all ages to get involved, ask questions and learn more about the role of scientists within the NHS. The event was a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness of wider roles within the NHS, and we are confident that we’ve inspired at least a few healthcare professionals of the future. A big thank you to all involved who made the day so fun and rewarding!

L-R: Harriet Copeland (Genomic Counselling), Poppy Emmett (Genomic Counselling), Eliza Foster (Cardiology), George Stewart (Vascular), Emily Morgan (Vascular) and Katie Jones (Cancer Genomics).

The South West trainee network would like to thank the Big Bang Fair @ Weston for sponsoring our stand and attendance at the event, NHS employers and the National School of Healthcare Science for providing promotional items flyers distributed at the event.

Author: Jes

I am a trainee clinical bioinformatician working at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust. I am passionate about increasing awareness and discussion about healthcare science and particularly the routes into the field.

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