Hundreds of Australia’s brightest young minds will be stretched to the limit in the quest to win the University of Newcastle’s Science and Engineering Grand Challenge in a three day finale.
The national event will see 750 year 10 students from 24 schools across the country compete for the title of Australian Champion School at the 2010 National Grand Challenge sponsored by Abigroup, won last year by St Mary's High School from Gateshead, NSW.
A live webcast will enable school communities and the public to follow the action as the competition unfolds, which will also be under the watchful eye of Australia’s Chief Scientist, Professor Penny Sackett, this year’s special guest. Professor Sackett provides independent advice to the Australian Government in scientific issues that affect the nation and also works to promote science as a career.
To celebrate the program’s tenth year the national finals will be held on the Central Coast, where the first Challenge was held in 2000.
Developed by the University’s Faculty of Science and Information Technology and the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, the innovative program encourages high school students’ interest in science and engineering by engaging them in fun, hands-on activities. It has grown from a local event to one involving more than 20,000 students nationwide each year.
Head of the University of Newcastle’s School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Professor John O’Connor, said the Challenge had proved valuable in igniting a passion for science and engineering.
“Surveys have shown that many students were encouraged to choose mathematics, chemistry or physics in their senior years after participating in the Challenge. It promotes problem solving and teamwork as students compete in a variety of activities including navigating virtual mazes, decrypting codes, building bridges and making catapults.”
The 24 schools progressed to the Grand Challenge after winning regional and zone competitions. Major sponsors for this Grand Challenge are Abigroup Constructors Pty Limited, The Rotary Club of Gosford, and the Australian Government through the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.
Photo Opportunity: The competition will be held from October 19 to 21 at Central Coast Youth Club, 18 Washington Avenue, Niagara Park, and will start at 9.30am each day, with the grand finale starting at 2.25pm and concluding at 3.15pm each day. The live webcast will be at: www.grandchallenge2010.com.au
For venue access: Bob Nelson, Director of National Challenge Operations 0409 449 151.
For interview: Professor John O’Connor, Head of the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences on 0402 839 978.