Carving out a share in the Christmas gift market may seem a big ask but it was the challenge set by industrial gases company BOC to schools and colleges participating in this year’s Inspiring Gases Science Challenge.
The winners, a team of six Year 12 students from Guildford High School, convinced the judges they could make an impact on Christmas sales with their custom-designed water rockets.
This year’s challenge asked schools to investigate the way compressed gas (in this case air) provides power for a rocket. They had to produce a scientific report on how to optimise the performance of a water/air powered rocket and then, crucially, prepare a business plan for selling their own version in the hectic Christmas toy market.
Alice Ashpitel, a member of the Guildford High team that developed the ‘Astroadventure Planet Hopper’, said: “The Challenge was hard work but we had a lot of fun with it as well. It’s great to have all that effort recognised with this award.”
Mike Dennis, Business Director of Bulk and Packaged Gases at BOC, a Member of the Linde Group, was impressed by the way the teams had tackled the challenge. “This challenge is about the way science and technology work in the real world. BOC takes science and applies it in the real world of industry and commerce. That is why we set these teams the task of making a commercial success out of their scientific investigations. They’ve all done this exceptionally well.”
Jon Wilkins, whose company markets water-rocket kits around the world, commented: “Bringing science to the market is the mark of an entrepreneur – and that ability is desperately needed in the UK today. These teams have shown they have plenty of ideas and that’s good news for the future – theirs and the country’s.”
The teams taking part in this year’s final will have the opportunity to compete for more prizes at this year’s Surrey Festival of Science, organised by Surrey Satro and held at the Brooklands Museum on 22 June. Commenting on the BOC Challenge, Dr Beccy Bowden, CEO of Surrey SATRO said, “I am absolutely delighted to be working with BOC to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists.”