Brian Cox, BBC broadcaster and Professor of particle physics at The University of Manchester, is today (Wednesday 3 May) announced as the headline act for Infinity Festival, a new groundbreaking science programme for secondary school students, to be held in Cumbria.
The first event of its kind for Cumbria, Infinity takes place on 28th September at the newly OfSTED-judged ‘outstanding’ West Lakes Academy, Egremont and features a stellar line up of international superstars in the world of science, technology and engineering including experts in robots, insects, crime mapping, aircraft design, nuclear reactors, and a host of other exciting fields.
Infinity Festival will be attended by more than 200 13- to 14-year-olds from across Cumbria and is set to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers through motivating talks and exciting hands-on experiments and workshops.
“I am delighted to be a part of this event. Britain needs more scientists and engineers and I urge the young people of Cumbria to sign-up to join the festival and experiment with science. I look forward to meeting everyone on 28th September.” says Prof Cox.
Infinity festival is being hosted in partnership with the Science Summer School, an annual event held at St Paul’s Way Trust School in London. Co-founder, Lord Andrew Mawson OBE, said: “In July 2016 we were thrilled to host a group of young people from West Cumbria at the Science Summer School. We were so inspired by the levels of enthusiasm that it was decided to hold a similar event in Cumbria. The event in London has been running successfully for 5 years and our research has shown that the event has not only built confidence but has enabled 50% of pupils, many on free school meals, to gain places at Russell Group Universities. In addition, around 50% have gone on to study STEM subjects. This event is a great opportunity to promote Cumbria, the massive investment in new energy generation, other advanced technology development and associated job opportunities, and to demonstrate to a national audience that Cumbria is a fantastic place to live and work.”
The festival programme will also feature employment opportunities, training options and career paths. The evening reception, will include interviews with scientists and pupils by Prof Cox, engaging with parents to ‘get them on board’ supporting pupils to aspire to a future with no limits.
Pete Woolaghan, from the React Foundation and festival organiser, said: “This is the first festival of its kind to be held outside London and it’s an amazing opportunity for Cumbria’s young people. The energy sector in Cumbria is due massive investment in coming years and we want local young people to make the most of these opportunities. We believe that the whole community of Cumbria needs to encourage and support our young people to be inspired to become the next generation of world-class scientists and engineers and to be supported to study, and succeed, in gaining the necessary qualifications.”
The festival has been created by The University of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute, working closely with the REACT Foundation. It is also supported by a range of industries and academia including: NuGen, who will support via their award-winning Bright Sparks education programme, the National Nuclear Laboratory, Sellafield Ltd, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the University of Central Lancashire, the University of Cumbria and West Lakes Academy. The event is also actively supported by the Well Whitehaven initiative, working to improve health and wellbeing by realising the potential of people and communities.
The full programme will operate year-round and will provide networking, support and professional development for science teachers and support staff in Cumbria as well as in-depth research projects for pupils. Schools will be contacted in early May and pupils asked to sign up to join the festival. The full line up of speakers will be revealed in the coming weeks.