My Smarter Essex: Step Into STEM

My Smarter Essex: Step Into STEM

A report from the event at Clacton Coastal Academy, 9 November 2022

Students from Clacton Coastal Academy took part in a "Step Into STEM" My Smarter Essex event as part of National Green Careers Week. The event was launched by Cllr Tony Ball, Cabinet Member for Education Excellence, Lifelong Learning and Employability, and focused on local career opportunities linked with renewable energy, sustainable materials and the skills students will need to develop to be successful in this sector.

The event, planned in conjunction with CSES, Essex County Council, NHS Integrated Care Board and the STEM Ambassador Hub, invited students to explore a variety of careers through practical, hands-on activities, including constructing their own solar and wind power sources, preparing fibre-optic wiring and exploring a working wind turbine through a VR headset.

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Photographic Competition 2022 winners announced

Photographic Competition 2022 winners announced

Images on the theme of "Controlling the Climate Crisis"

Thank you to everyone who entered our 2022 Photographic Competition on the theme of Controlling the Climate Crisis. We were delighted to receive yet again an impressive selection of thoughtful, powerful, clever and sometimes funny images that speak to this important topic.

You can see all of the photographs at our web gallery here.

Congratulations to our winners, whose entries are shown below. Since quite a few of the entries (unfortunately) didn't meet the technical criteria or appeared to be copied from stock images, we have awarded a first prize (£60) and four highly commended prizes (£20), across the age categories. We look forward to running another competition next year.

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Chelmsford Science Festival 2022

First Briton in space leads extravaganza of science

Helen Sharman's talk one of many 'out of this world' Chelmsford Science Festival events

The first British astronaut, Helen Sharman OBE, will give a headline talk at the inaugural Chelmsford Science Festival, taking place across the city between 12-18 October and organised by Anglia Ruskin University (ARU).

During her talk on Tuesday, 18 October, Helen will explain how, in May 1991, she spent eight days orbiting the Earth after being chosen from a pool of 13,000 applicants. As part of the selection process, she undertook rigorous psychological and medical assessments, and had to train intensively for 18 months to prepare her body for the harsh environment of space.

The talk will take place at Chelmsford Cathedral in front of the spectacular Gaia installation, which will be on display throughout the festival.

Helen's talk is just one of several fascinating and free events at the festival, which will feature world-leading experts speaking about issues ranging from the future of work to the secrets of visual short-term memory, and from the science of getting fit to how nano-technology can benefit all aspects of our lives.

The festival also features a free Family Science Day taking place at ARU's Chelmsford campus from 10am until 4pm on Saturday, 15 October, featuring hands-on and fun activities for people of all ages. As well as activities from CSES, people will have the chance to meet Titan the Robot, see shows from Cloud Factory and Bubble Superstars, and even experience a different body through virtual reality.

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Volunteers sought for Ri Masterclasses

Make Happen

Last autumn term Make Happen ran a very successful series of online Ri Masterclasses in mathematics for students in year 9. We are looking to run another series of Ri Masterclasses in computer science with dates proposed in the coming autumn term, and are looking for volunteers who would be interested in running one of the sessions each.

Make Happen are looking for researchers / volunteers from any discipline to develop and run an Ri Masterclass in Computer Science for students in year 9. The session would take place via zoom on a Saturday morning in November or December. Some preparation would be required beforehand for the workshop outline and resources – Ben, the masterclass coordinator from Ri, will be able to support you with this.

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Chelmsford Innovation: Marconi and Beyond

Exhibition celebrates Chelmsford innovation

Throughout June and July 2022, ARU hosted a special exhibition showcasing Chelmsford innovation from the last 100 years to the present day.

Chelmsford has been a world-renowned centre of scientific and technological innovation for well over 100 years, and still is today. Among other things, Chelmsford is home to the world's first wireless (later radio) factory, the world's first river water treatment plant and the world's first colour digital camera – and that's just from within the last century. Today, companies in Chelmsford continue to build the technology of the future, with high-tech developments in fields as diverse as space, healthcare, communications and defence. The impact of industry in Chelmsford on all of our lives is incredible.

A collaboration between ARU, CSES, Chelmsford Civic Society and the Marconi Veterans' Association, this exhibition told a part of that story, revealing how household names such as Marconi are echoed in the modern age.

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Giving Voice: Stories of STE(A)M through the technology of radio

Giving Voice: Stories of STE(A)M through the technology of radio

A new project for Primary and Secondary School Students: November 2022 to June 2023

We are launching another new science, technology and computing project for primary and secondary schools. This year, the project celebrates the 100th anniversary of the founding of the BBC and Essex as the birthplace of radio!

We are looking for participating schools across Essex to become new CSES Affiliate Schools whose student teams will:

  • Gain an understanding of the basic technology of radio transmission and develop hands-on electronics skills by constructing both a simple crystal set and a more sophisticated FM receiver.
  • Research the history, roles and activities of key participants in the development of radio broadcasting (or other areas where arts and technology combine), especially highlighting the roles of women and others from under-represented groups.
  • Develop and record a short 5-minute podcast introducing their chosen role model, which they will share within the classroom using a short-range FM transmitter and more widely with other schools through audio streaming.
  • Prepare a poster, which together with their podcast will be judged at our annual TEXPO in June 2023.

To maximise the success of these student-led projects, additional competitive funding may be available from our CSES STEM Club Bursary.

There will be PRIZES for the most innovative, best research and greatest impact entry in each age group, presented at our annual awards ceremony at Anglia Ruskin University in July. In consultation with your CSES Champion, teams may be funded to enter their project for an appropriate level National CREST Award.

We are now looking for schools across Essex (including the unitary authorities) to become CSES School Affiliate Members and discuss how they would like to be involved in this exciting project.

Please contact our Vice President for Education, Professor David Humber, for further information (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

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Welcome to the 2022-2023 CSES programme

Welcome to the 2022-2023 CSES programme

Return of talks and socials for the new season

Now that the worst of the Covid pandemic is behind us, and following the success of events over the summer such as Do and Discover and our Schools' TEXPO (see our COMPRESS newsletter for further information if you're interested), we are delighted to be returning to a full talks and social programme, alongside some new (regular) flagship events for families and the public.

It's still early days and we are still ramping back up – as are our partners such as the IOP, IET and IMechE – so please keep an eye out for new dates added to the diary over the coming months.

Read on for the events in the calendar so far.

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Gaia at Chelmsford Cathedral: Volunteers needed!

Gaia at Chelmsford Cathedral: Volunteers needed!

Gaia at Chelmsford Cathedral: 12-30 October 2022

Chelmsford Cathedral is delighted to be hosting Gaia, the immersive art installation of the earth, for the first time in Essex.

Created by artist Luke Jerram, Gaia measures six metres in diameter and was created from 120 dpi detailed NASA imagery of the Earth's surface. Visitors to Gaia get to see the Earth as if from space; an incredibly beautiful, fragile and precious place. At night the artwork is lit up and accompanied with a specially made surround sound composition by BAFTA award winning Composer Dan Jones. Connected to the Cathedral's mission and achievements as an A Rocha Gold Eco Church Award holder, this awe-inspiring art installation will be complemented with an exciting programme built around two key themes: Environment and Engagement.

How can I be involved?

To help us deliver this exciting project, we are looking for enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers. As a Gaia Volunteer you will meet and greet visitors, share information about the artwork, help direct people through the building and ensure everyone has a great experience encountering Gaia. Each day will be split into morning, afternoon and evening sessions and we hope that volunteers will complete at least three sessions over the course of the installation. All volunteers will receive full training and support from the Cathedral events team.

If you wish to volunteer, please read the job description, and complete an application form by 12th August.

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TEXPO 2022

TEXPO 2022

After two years off due to Covid, the annual CSES Schools' Competition returned on 17 June 2022, now known by its new name "TEXPO" (Schools' Technology Exhibition) as it accompanies our new online competitions and projects.

Numbers were understandably lower this year, but the standard of work on display was incredibly high. Entries were especially impressive given the limitations that we know people have faced over the last couple of years during the pandemic.

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