Inspiring future scientists and engineers by revealing an array of ‘If Onlys'

High profile figures contribute their thinking to stimulate the next generation of UK scientists and engineers

From Lord Winston to Gary Lineker, leading figures from the worlds of entertainment, science, and business have come up with a plethora of ‘If Onlys’ – their one inspiration, discovery or invention that they wish existed – to capture the public’s imagination and encourage the UK’s budding young scientists and engineers to come up with their own inventions or creations for the National Science and Engineering Competition, by 30 October.

In providing their ‘If Only’ ideas, more than 60 of these high profile figures hope to make young people recognise that it is their imaginations that will enable them make what seems impossible now, possible in the future. Entering the Competition is a chance for young people to celebrate their science and engineering achievements and could be the first step to making their own ‘If Only’ a reality.

John Humphrys, Journalist and Radio and TV presenter:

“If Only” I could invent a gadget attached to the chair on which politicians sit when I interview them which would give me an instant evaluation of their answers: “totally honest”, “partly honest but mostly disingenuous”; “self-serving claptrap”; “downright lies.” But on reflection it would probably make my role redundant!”

Lord Winston:

"If Only” there was such a thing as a breakthrough in science, think of the credit in which an individual scientist like myself could legitimately wallow. But nearly every important piece of scientific progress is made incrementally and we mostly explore the ideas of others or rediscover what other scientists have already found, and sometimes which others have forgotten."

Gary Lineker, ex-England footballer and BBC commentator:

“If Only” I had a time machine so I could go back and play one extra game for England to become England’s all time highest ever scorer.”

All the contributions are available to view on www.thebigbangfair.com/ifonly

Sir Roland Jackson, Chief Executive of the British Science Association, which leads the National Science and Engineering Competition in partnership with Young Engineers, commented: “How often do we hear people say ‘If Only’? It is amazing to think that many of the wishes made by people years ago are now a reality. Young people, who have the skills to match their imaginations, will be the UK’s future scientists and engineers. They will be the ones making the fantastic inventions and discoveries that are sure to come – things we may currently think are only impossible dreams.”

Stu Ellins, Chief Executive of Young Engineers, said “This Competition is an excellent vehicle to highlight the many and varied projects being undertaken by school students, as well as a great way to highlight the possibilities that engaging with science and engineering can bring young people. Although ‘If Only’ is a fun exercise, the reality is that the world faces serious issues such as pollution, climate change, disease, food supply and even caring for an ageing population, all of which need creativity and innovation in science and engineering to find solutions. It’s essential that we as a nation support the young people who will make vital discoveries and inventions a reality and the National Science and Engineering Competition does just that.”

The National Science and Engineering Competition together with The Big Bang: UK Young Scientists’ and Engineers’ Fair, the UK’s biggest celebration of science and engineering where the winners will be announced, celebrate the fantastic success young people are already achieving using their skills to make their ideas happen. 11-18 year-olds can visit www.nationalsciencecompetition.org before 30th October to nominate the projects they are proud of for the chance to win some of the £50,000 worth of prizes available. The culmination of the Competition at The Big Bang takes place in Manchester in March 2010. There, they will get the chance to compete for the title of the next UK Young Scientist of the Year and UK Young Engineer of the Year, and many remarkable accomplishments will be on display.

The public are also encouraged to get involved and think of something that would make their lives better. They can make their own “If Only” wish at www.thebigbangfair.com/ifonly


For more information, please contact Fishburn Hedges:

Francesca Bennett on 020 7544 3051 or Francesca.bennett@fishburn-hedges.co.uk

Dominic Weeks on 020 7544 3012 or Dominic.weeks@fishburn-hedges.co.uk

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