IBM's Blue Fusion inspires students for National Science and Engineering Week

HURSLEY, United Kingdom - 16 Mar 2010: Over 450 students from 80 schools across the South of England will be celebrating National Science and Engineering Week at IBM's 15th 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.  

“Earth” is the theme for National Science and Engineering Week 2010 and volunteers from IBM Hursley, Europe’s largest software development lab, have put together a wealth of fun inspiring and engaging activities.

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 developing systems to ease inner city congestion to using science and technology to develop healthcare solutions. The students will experience first hand how science benefits our everyday lives and how instrumented, interconnected intelligent technology can help build a smarter planet.

Approximately 200 IBM 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.  Some IBM volunteers were actually previous Blue Fusion students, who were so inspired that they decided to pursue a career in this area.  Local dignitaries will 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.  

A description of the activities and supporting information is included in the appended note to editor. 

Note to editor: 
- Bright Sparks, on Friday 12th March is for Year 8 students, aged 12-13.
- Blue Fusion, from Monday 15th - Thursday 18th March is for Year 10 students aged 14-15. 
- 2010 is the 15th 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 someone from the organising team or a previous Blue Fusion students who later became an IBM employees, please let us know and we'll arrange an interview.

The Activities: 
Liquid Wars is a unique game combining a physical game board with a software display. A successful team will demonstrate great communication and team working skills. The concept of the game is to illustrate the importance of white blood cells in fighting off disease. The effectiveness of students’ solution will be tested by introducing several infections into the body, with the aim being to stave off as many types of infection as possible.

Dam Age will teach the students about the impact of using dams to control water flow.  This will test their team work, problem solving and creativity as they have to design the best solution for each scenario; Tidal Wave, Generate Resources and Dam Break.   They will design their solution using a physical map as input to a computer simulation which simulates the results to the terrain and to factors such as industry, population, electricity supply and much more.

Art Fraud Forensics requires students to solve a variety of puzzles in order to decipher which paintings should be sold at an auction. The puzzles cover an array of topics and skills from science to geography and logic to word puzzles.

Escape from Earth places teams in an international space race! Each team is competing to get a manned craft closest to Pluto. To do this, they will need to consider what resources to gather and where to gather them. Once teams have collected all their resources they can build and launch their rocket! Teams will need to calculate their needs very carefully if they are to win the space race and Escape from Earth!

Land a Rocket  requires navigation of a spaceship through a series of exciting challenges whilst the students try to navigate the craft around a planet before blasting into space. in order to succeed the students will have to work together as a team to control each of the 6 thrusters attached to the rocket. During the challenge they will be required to navigate the rocket through tricky spaces and collect objects. Trough participating in this activity, the students will be required to use effective team working and communication skills whilst working in a chaotic environment. the team which works best together are likely to be rewarded with the highest scores.

Zombie Robots allows you to create your very own useful robot that can scour the factory for other robots that are broken and then repair them, except there is a twist. You need to race against useful robots created by other teams and repair the most robots! To make things interesting you can also try and steal the robots that the other teams repair and build your own team of robots to clear the factory floor! To create your useful robot, you must design the algorithm for its movements, its construction to determine its looks and power source, and craft an efficient process of repairing and stealing other robots. Having created their robots during the day, each team’s solution will pitted against each other on the factory floor at the end of the day.

Traffic Tangle is a game about avoiding gridlock through the intelligent use of traffic lights. Students control the lights and their timings in order to increase the flow rate of the cars and trucks through a busy city, with the aim of reducing the environmental impact, and providing a smarter solution for a smarter planet.

Wind Tunnel is a practical activity where the students will modify vehicles with the aim of optimising the aerodynamics in one direction and increasing air resistance in the other direction. The vehicle cannot be modified between runs so the students will have to strike a balance between their designs taking shape and weight into consideration. This activity will teach the students the benefits of aerodynamics relating to fuel efficiency and show them how well designed vehicles can reduce the impact on the environment, by reducing the amount of fuel required and pollution produced. 

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