Big Bang Essex

Last Tuesday (15 December) volunteers from ICE Essex branch spent the day at the Big Bang fair at the University of Essex promoting careers in civil engineering.

Andrew shows off his paper bridge. The use of coloured paper for the compression and tension members was an inspired idea and worked really well when talking to the students.
Andrew shows off his paper bridge. The use of coloured paper for the compression and tension members was an inspired idea and worked really well when talking to the students.

Around 1,000 students were bussed in from schools in Essex to attend the fair.

Andrew Kenyon, Planning Manager for the Civil Engineering section of Taylor Woodrow, took the lead as illness and other problems conspired to keep his ICE colleagues away from the fair. Andrew reported talking directly to at least 100 students, with a 50/50 split between the genders and a great deal of genuine interest in engineering.

With the help of the students and some of the University student helpers Andrew made and assembled a 2m span twin girder bridge and then loaded it up with tins of fruit and veg until it (prematurely) failed. This allowed discussion with the students about how and why it failed. One of the points made being that we learn a great deal from failure - and probably far more than we do from success.

Taylor Woodrow kindly paid for the tins of food for the load test and these will be going to a local food bank.

One highlight of the day was the launch of the Soyuz rocket with Tim Peake aboard which was shown live on an enormous screen. This prompted much discussion on rockets and the ISS and the role civil engineers play in that and in everything else in life.

If anyone wants to know more about the event or the bridge then let please contact Andrew Kenyon: andrew.kenyon@taylorwoodrow.com.

Top