Big Bang Digital 2020 – science, engineering & Covid-19, the one-day educational online event which took place online in mid-July gave an inspirational and uplifting look at the essential role of science and engineering in a pandemic. Young people had the opportunity to listen and chat to world leading scientists, healthcare professionals, engineers, technicians and other students who have and continue to be vital in the fight against the disease and in keeping essential services and supplies available.
The event, watched live by almost 28,000 viewers and viewed by up to 50,000 young people including 4,773 British Sign Language viewers across 24 hours, also played host to exclusive videos from Sir David Attenborough which were part of an interactive session by Plastic Oceans UK on how plastic pollution may well have worsened during the pandemic.
Young people were also given the opportunity to ask questions to world-renowned scientist and SAGE member Sir Jeremy Farrar live on air in the Ask the Experts session. Many also joined the GSK workshop to find out more about their work in finding a vaccine.
The day also saw a lot of fun with BBC’s Gastronaut Stefan Gates who produced the colours of the rainbow in a science show called Explosion of colour. Viewers also tuned into a session where TV & Radio Science Presenter, Podcaster & YouTuber Greg Foot, who hosted the day, talked to a red panda. The red panda was the on-screen avatar used by an intelligence agent for security reasons as he explained what you should be doing to keep yourself safe and secure online.
When polled on the day almost 80% of young viewers said they were inspired to consider a future career in science, technology or engineering, a higher proportion than young people surveyed generally. No doubt so they can be the scientists and engineers of tomorrow, who help prevent future pandemics. It also discovered that 63% of viewers think that people will respect the environment more as a result of seeing the detrimental impact humans can have.
Beth Elgood, Director of Communications at EngineeringUK, which organised the digital event, said: “The Big Bang Digital event was a huge success – this was not only evident by the numbers of engaged young people tuning in but also the positive comments we received. To hear that 80% of viewers would consider a future career in science, technology or engineering is so encouraging. We’re really proud that The Big Bang Digital has inspired them and hope it’s long lasting.
“We know from research by the British Science Association that almost nine in ten young people do not think scientists (89%) or politicians (92%) are talking to them when discussing COVID-19*, so it was great that the Big Bang Digital was able to give young people insight into the important roles engineers and scientists play in a pandemic, as well as the opportunity for them to ask these experts first-hand any questions they have about the pandemic – an opportunity that otherwise wouldn’t be possible for many.”
When asked what they thought about the event, the young viewers made comments, including:
“Very informative and enjoyable. Interactive features and the live chat were very useful. Thank you for putting together this event!”
“I like how kids can understand Covid-19 by using this website, and you can learn more and meet people who are working here and now.”
“I like it because you can hear about all the NHS workers and their stories, and the other important people during the pandemic. I love how you can ask questions to the people on here with a live chat.”
“It helped me picture what my parents are going through.”
“I’m finding it really interesting and am learning a lot. It’s really good how it’s been related to the times and allows you to hear all the amazing questions and answers, and how we can help in the future, as well as how our lives will be changed.”
“This event was a great opportunity for young people to discover more about this pandemic that seems so out of reach.”
“Big Bang Digital inspires others to become awesome engineers and to create something new to show the next generation of technology and creativity.”
“Big Bang Digital can help you find a good career as I saw the different types of engineering and this is useful for the people who would like to start this career.”
During the event viewers were invited to participate in the Meet The Future You Quiz, a careers quiz designed to your skills and passions could lead to an exciting job in the future. 4,900 viewers completed the quiz on the day of the event and an additional 1,369 have done so since. There have also been an impressive 4,194 views of the content since it was made available on demand.
The Big Bang Digital 2020 – science, engineering & Covid-19 full stream, as well as individual sessions showcasing the incredible contribution of scientists, healthcare professionals, engineers, technicians and students in responding to the pandemic, is now available to view on demand at www.digitalbigbang.co.uk.