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IBM Hursley inspires young people to develop an interest in Science and Engineering.


Hursley, UK - 09 Mar 2009: Almost 450 students from 80 schools across the South of England will be celebrating National Science and Engineering Week at IBM’s 14 annual Blue Fusion event. The students will use quick thinking, scientific knowledge and teamwork in a number of fun activities, designed to inspire and encourage young people to develop their interest in Science, Technology and Engineering.

"Change" is the theme for National Science and Engineering Week 2009 and as this year also marks the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, activities will celebrate influential thinking. Therefore, what better place to show how smart thinking is leading intelligent change than IBM Hursley, Europe’s largest Software Development laboratory and part of IBM’s globally integrated research and development function.

Each day, teams from 16 schools will participate in a variety of specially-designed activities promoting innovation, teamwork, problem solving and communication skills. Students solve puzzles and technological challenges that explore basic concepts in some of the most interesting areas of modern technology, with a focus on practical applications and the students’ existing knowledge. The activities range from the biology of the human body to the engineering practicalities of built structures. The students will experience first hand how science benefits our everyday lives and how using intelligent technology and systems can help make the world work better.

Over 170 IBM Hursley employees volunteer their time and experience to Blue Fusion, many of whom are recent graduates who can share their passion and experience of working in the industry with the next generation. Previous Blue Fusion students who have since come back and joined IBM can be available as spokespeople upon request. Local Dignitaries will also be attending the event throughout the week to see the impact and success of Blue Fusion in inspiring young people into Science, Technology and Engineering.

Should you wish to attend, or for more information, please contact Chris Tetley, IBM Communications, on 01962 817880 or email chtetley@uk.ibm.com

Note to editor:

- Blue Fusion, from Monday 9–Thursday 12 March is for Year 10 students aged 14-15.

- Bright Sparks, on Friday 6 March is for Year 8 students, aged 12-13.

- 2009 is the 14th year of IBM’s popular Blue Fusion event which has proven successful at inspiring young people to consider careers in Science, Technology and Engineering.

- If you would like to speak to previous Blue Fusion students who later became IBM employees, please let us know in advance.

The event will be attended by local Dignitaries from the Hampshire area, including:

Date Event Attendees

Dignitaries

06/03/09 Bright Sparks Around 100 Year 8 students

Mayor of Eastleigh, Mark Oaten MP and Alan Whitehead MP, Speaker: James Anderson (University of Reading)

09/03/09 Blue Fusion Around 90 GCSE students

Sandra Gidley MP, Mayor of Winchester, Speaker: Ross Reynolds (University of Reading)

10/03/09 Blue Fusion Around 90 GCSE students

Paul Andrews Southampton LEA, Speaker: Patrick Oliver (University of Newcastle)

11/03/09 Blue Fusion Around 90 GCSE students

Speaker: Eric Cooke (University of Southampton)

12/03/09 Blue Fusion Around 90 GCSE students

Mayor of Test Valley

The Activities:

Hectic Electric The students are in charge of planning the generation of electricity across a country, whilst keeping in mind the cost of a power plant, the environmental impact, the public’s perception and the carbon footprint. As the students progress with their plan, constraints will tighten and the amount of power needed will vastly grow, so they will find themselves having to alter their choices and picking alternatives to meet the revised needs. 

Critter Creations The students will have a representation of the genetic make-up of some animals and will try to understand the difference between the sequence of their genes (genotype) and their characteristics (phenotype). To discover the relationship (mapping) between the two involves realising that this mapping is not always as a simple as one gene representing one characteristic. Once the relationship is understood the students can begin to work out what critters they can create.

Remote Surgical Interns: In this activity the students will become smart surgical interns, carrying out their work using a simulated surgical box. This sophisticated piece of technology allows them to explore the body remotely, by connecting them to a robot which carries out the operations on the patient based on their movement. They will need to locate various organs and supply information about them to the computer for analysis, and remove any foreign objects from inside the patient. Can they find all the objects and remove them? Can they manage to complete the operation successfully?

Typhoon Towers: In Typhoon Towers the students have to work in teams to construct a tower in a typhoon prone area, working to make the tower as tall as possible, while withstanding the power of the typhoon winds! The teams will be tested with limited building resources and a tight deadline to meet.  What kind of structure will they engineer? Will it scrape the sky? Will it topple in the typhoon? Or will it tower majestically, letting no force faze it?

Hive Mind: Ants may seem like simple creatures, but a remarkably intelligent behaviour can emerge when they are collaborating in large numbers. In Hive Mind the students will manage their own intelligent ant hive, coordinate three different types of ants to watch the hive thrive in a computer simulation. But seven rival hives are out there to take their food, or even attack their ants! The students will have to be careful with planning in order to gather the most food and protect their ants. May the best Hive win!

Myopic Robotics: In working out how to fix the robots for Myopic Robotics Corporation, the students will have to piece together the pipes and components to make sure the right substance (red or blue) will be sent out depending on what is fed into the system. They need to use as few components as possible, and they have a limited amount of time to fix the robots in. Can the students manage to re-use previous solutions as part of more complicated ones? Will the teams cope well when components became unavailable?

The Human Computer: In this activity the teams act as part of a computer processor and run programs.  They are each given a different task that corresponds to what an actual computer does when executing an instruction pipeline, such as fetching data from memory or drawing on the screen.  By working together as a team they race against the clock to solve problems and win points. 

Cyber Crime: In this activity the student will attempt to outwit a cyber-criminal and prevent them from stealing their money, possessions and personal details. Will they be successful? Will they remember to use safeguards in their internet activities to protect themselves? Will they manage to catch the criminal?

You are warmly invited to attend any of the days of the event, and see these activities in action.  Please contact Chris Tetley chtetley@uk.ibm.com in advance to confirm your attendance.

Contact(s) information

Chris Tetley
IBM Communications
01962 817880
chtetley@uk.ibm.com

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