In pictures: Professor Brian Cox visits Ballymena to inspire the next generation of scientists

Leading physicist and television presenter Professor Brian Cox CBE OBE FRS was in Ballymena on Tuesday (January 24) inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers and inventors.

Professor Cox hosted the ‘Science Summer School NI’ at The Braid in Ballymena alongside leading educators and influencers from the world of science, technology, engineering, the arts and maths.

It is hoped the initiative, spearheaded by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, will help activate the curiosity of up to 400 young people, via a combination of STEAM seminars, discussions, hands-on experiments and insights.

Professor Cox, who was formerly a keyboard player with pop group D:Ream, also lead an evening panel session for students and parents to highlight the career pathways and opportunities available to the future workforce.

“I’m very excited to bring our Science Summer School to Northern Ireland,” he said. “The aim is to excite students about science and engineering and to help them along a path towards what I know from personal experience to be an immensely rewarding future career.

“We have a great mix of speakers and experiments which are designed to show what Northern Ireland has to offer - and it has a great deal with its rich history in science and engineering.”

He added: “But most of all, I want the students to enjoy exploring the ideas that we’ll present. Science is, first and foremost, about the exhilaration of discovery and understanding, and that’s what we aim to deliver.”

Keynote speakers included male midwife Vince Rosales, Dr Erin Higgins, astrophysicist at the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium, and Dr Andrew McIntosh, Head of Research and Development at Kilwaughter Minerals.

Pupils from schools in Ballymena, Larne, Carnlough and Newtownabbey took part including Ballymena Academy, Slemish College, St Louis Grammar and Larne High. Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, said the council was delighted to be working with local businesses, schools, universities, and partner organisations to bring this initiative to the borough.

“The Science School lifts a lid on the myriad of opportunities that exist in science,” Ms Mulvenna said. “It is our hope that young people will be inspired to embark on an exciting future in this field – and maybe even become leaders in science.”

This event was sponsored by Kilwaughter Minerals, Ryobi, IPC Mouldings, Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies, Michelin Development, Caterpillar, Yelo, GES Group, Wrightbus and Phoenix Engineering.