The star attraction! Professor Brian Cox for Ballymena event

Dessie Blackadder

Reporter:

Dessie Blackadder

BALLYMENA is to host the first Northern Ireland Science School – hosted by Professor Brian Cox OBE, the acclaimed physicist and BBC presenter.

The Science School, backed by Mid and East Antrim Council, is aimed at inspiring the next generation of scientists and innovators. It will take place on November 24 in conjunction with leading educators and influencers from across the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) sectors.

Young people attending the event in November will hear from industry and academic leaders at the forefront of the STEAM sector, and from the famous physicist and astronomer Professor Cox, who will deliver the keynote address.

Teenage environmental champions, Amy and Ella Meek, will also speak about how their mission to make a difference by reducing plastic pollution, has seen them create an award-winning charity which has inspired children, business leaders and politicians throughout the UK.

Professor Cox will also lead an evening panel session for students, parents and special guests from across Northern Ireland to hear more about the STEAM Career Pathways available to them.

The Science Summer Schools initiative was established in 2012 at St Paul’s Way Trust School in East London by Lord Andrew Mawson OBE and Professor Cox. It is now being expanded nationally on a year-round basis in partnership with entrepreneurial community business Well North Enterprises.

The collective aim is to make ‘the UK the best place to do science’. The future need for more scientists and engineers nationally has been highlighted as a priority by the current Coronavirus pandemic.

Lord Mawson OBE said: “This is an appropriate time to be bringing the first Science School hosted by Professor Cox to Ballymena!

“Science and the desire to learn more about how our world works, and about how we can use that information to improve how we live our lives, has never been more attractive or relevant as a subject area and a potential career path.”

Professor Brian Cox OBE added: “The Coronavirus pandemic vividly illustrates the importance of understanding the natural world; a perfect definition of science.

“The solutions will come in the form of effective treatments and a vaccine. These will be found because of the understanding we have of viruses, genetics and our immune system built up over many years.

“A great deal of this knowledge was acquired by scientists who were simply curious about how Nature works. In that statement there is a lesson and a reason for hope.

“Curiosity is a powerful thing, and science is about harnessing curiosity and honing it into the best method we have for acquiring new knowledge and exploring the unknown.

“That’s what science is all about, and that’s why we need you to become the scientists of the future! I look forward to seeing you in Northern Ireland in November!”

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Cllr Maureen Morrow, said:

“Council is delighted to be working with local businesses, schools, universities and partner organisations to bring this exciting opportunity to the borough.”

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