Malaria Project Takes Rotary Prize At Big Bang Competition
A team of four pupils from Gillingham School in Dorset were crowned with The Rotary Prize for Medical/Scientific Advancement at The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair.
Zack Glindon, Alex Handley, Thomas Hollingsworth and Cameron Woodhouse impressed the judges with their project, which aims to disrupt the life cycle of the Anopheles mosquito in order to decrease the spread of malaria, a disease which kills approximately 600,000 people each year.
The team developed a device, called a morbosphere, designed to break the surface tension of water so mosquito eggs and larvae would sink.
The judges were full of praise for the team, saying “they showed enthusiasm and commitment to their project and worked effectively as a team. The concept was well thought through and they had researched the problems of malaria so had a clear understanding of what they were trying to achieve.
With relatively limited resources they had produced and tested their sphere and were confident in their methods.”
The 2017 Rotary Prize for The Big Bang Competition was awarded to the project that has shown outstanding success in medical or scientific advancement.
The Rotary award is made recognising the centenary of Rotary’s charity, The Rotary Foundation and Rotary’s ongoing campaign for more than 30 years to eradicate polio. When Rotary began the campaign, there were 1,000 cases per day in 125 countries, in 2016 there were just 37 cases in three countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
With Rotary’s help, over 2.5 billion children have been immunised against a crippling and potentially life threatening disease.
Disease prevention and treatment is also one of Rotary’s six Areas of Focus.
Zack, one of the team from Gillingham School commented, “We’ve been working on the project for about half a year now. We’ve put a lot of work into this and a lot of our free time and it’s all been worth just to come to The Big Bang Fair and see everything.”
“I think STEM subjects open so many doors and help you to understand the world around you. They’re really interesting, I enjoy them so much!”
Fellow team member Thomas, added, “Our project is in constant development, we’ve got future plans that we want to implement. I think STEM subjects are the way forward in the future. There is always constant research and it’s so exciting because there is so much out there and so many opportunities.”
“The device which is designed to reduce the spread of malaria
is very much linked with Rotary’s international work
with disease prevention and treatment.”
Lee Cherry, Science Teacher and Work Related Learning Coordinator at Gillingham School was full of praise for the young scientists, “The team are absolutely delighted because the Rotary Prize for Medical/Scientific Advancement is one of the big awards. Rotary is such a great organisation with people working locally and internationally as well.”
“The device which is designed to reduce the spread of malaria is very much linked with Rotary’s international work with disease prevention and treatment.”
Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland President Eve Conway, who handed out the prize, said “The competition this year was fierce, but Gillingham School’s idea stood out from the crowd. We hope all the finalists go on to further their interest in science and maths and then pursue a career in science, technology, engineering and maths jobs. Filling the STEM skills gap is vital to the future success of the country”
Winners were chosen from over 500 finalists in The Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Competition after pitching their idea to a panel of high profile judges, including aerospace engineer Andrew Smith from Rolls Royce (also of Great British Bake Off fame), TV presenter & gadget guru Jason Bradbury, mechanical engineer and TV presenter Dr Shini Somara and science editor of the Times Tom Whipple.
The Big Bang Competition is an annual contest designed to recognise and reward young people’s achievements in all areas of science, technology, engineering and maths, as well as helping them build skills and confidence in project-based work.
Congratulating Gillingham School, Paul Jackson, Chief Executive of Engineering UK which organises The Big Bang Competition said: “It’s easy to see why this idea stood out to the judges but all the finalists are worthy of mention – not only for their exciting new ideas but for showcasing them to crowds of people at The Fair
“This glimpse into the minds of the scientists and inventors of tomorrow promises great things for the future.”
Published Friday 17th March 2017