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Young scientists go back to the future with UCLan

28 March 2014

Lyndsey Boardman

University event helps local schools predict future technology  

Preston’s budding scientists have been back to the future with help from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) as they predicted what technological advances will be made in years to come.

Year 9 pupils from Fulwood Academy, Longridge High School and Our Lady’s Catholic High School came to UCLan for a Dragons’ Den style event to present their ideas for future technology, gathered during National Science Week, to a panel of engineering and science experts from a range of industries.

Longridge High School’s idea of a car that runs on hydrogen fuel cells, has facial recognition software and can drive itself impressed the judges from BAE Systems, Alstom Transport, STEMFirst and STEMNet. Other ideas included a solar powered car, a bubble shuttle caravan that can travel in space and a train powered by a hydrogen jet system.

Dr Joanne Bibby, Lecturer in astronomy, physics and maths at UCLan, organised the event with the Ogden Trust which encourages and promotes the teaching and learning of physics. She said: “We were impressed with the innovative ideas that the pupils came up with and the ways they applied their science, maths, engineering and technology knowledge to the challenge.

“Working with the Ogden Trust we’re able to inspire and enthuse young people about science and show them how it can be applied to real life.”

Ogden's Trust 

"We were impressed with the innovative ideas that the pupils came up with and the ways they applied their science, maths, engineering and technology knowledge to the challenge."

Alongside the Dragons’ Den presentations the pupils also learned that Spiderman’s heightened senses and his ability to walk up walls may be more science fact that science fiction through the Science of Superheroes workshop host by UCLan engineering lecturer Dr Matt Dickinson.

The schools also took part in the TED Marshmallow challenge, organised by the North West Aerospace Alliance, to build the tallest free-standing structure out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow in 18 minutes; all in the name of team building and creativity.

Ogden's Trust

"I thought these things only happened in films so it’s been really interesting to learn that some of the things we see in science fiction is staring to become possible and how it is done."

Toyosi Adetole, 13, from Our Lady’s Catholic High School commented: “I enjoyed learning about aerospace and taking part in the marshmallow challenge; although it was a hard I learned how to solve my own problems.”

All pupils received a Bronze CREST award from the British Science Association for their projects and taking part in the event.