Category Archives: STFCWinner

What Matt Maddock did with his prize money…

Matt was voted the winner of the Measurement Zone in 2012. Since then he’s been busy developing his project, and here he reports on his progress.

If you’re an engineer who’d like the funding to develop your own outreach activities apply for I’m an Engineer at

The money was used to buy a LEGO EV3 Mindstorms Educational set to take part in an educational outreach program run by some colleagues at Diamond Light Source. We’ve developed designs for a fully working diffraction interferometer made from the Mindstorms kit, but we needed the newest version of the LEGO to help test the current designs and develop them further.

Here are some pictures of the current model and a few of its immediate predecessor in various states of completion and use.



We’ve already been able to take the model out and about to show the public, including open days at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and even to the Natural History Museum.


We also plan to produce a fully illustrated booklet for schools which will include instructions on how to build their own version of the beamline model, as well as information about its real-life counterpart at Diamond, and the part it plays in synchrotron science and the modern world.

The booklet is, however, currently proving a challenge; Whilst the free software provided by Lego for modelling builds is good as far as it goes, its system for producing instructions falls over somewhat when faced with something as complex as the beamline. I’m hard at work on ways to make everything simple and clear without having to hand draw every stage in crayon!

Posted on November 16, 2016 modantony in STFCWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Matt Maddock did with his prize money…

What Graham Wiggins did with his prize money…

Graham won the Apprentice Zone in June 2014. Here he tells us how he decided to use his £500 prize money as donations to outreach programmes … 

I know what you are thinking…. “ why choose a donation, and why those recipients? “

I hope the next 229 words will explain my thoughts. Having read the guidance notes for the event, I needed to get as much effect for the cash as I could, while providing a traceable paper trail at the same time. This favoured a donation, but to whom?

I decided to split the cash into 3 unequal parts, £200 to WISE, £200 to the Vulcan to the Sky Trust, and £100 to Science Oxford.

WISE spent their cash on their Create Your Future project which is a series of workshops around the country to encourage more girls to consider STEM careers and, in particular, apprenticeships.

The cash for Vulcan to the Sky went on their public engagement and education programme ( or was it jet fuel ?… either way, they engaged with the public!).

Science Oxford used the funds to buy some kit which their Engineering Ambassadors could use to run activities in schools. They also ran a training session for the Ambassadors, where they could become familiar with the kit and have a go at the activities themselves.

All these organisations regularly inspire people into STEM subjects, and have large audiences. Or was it that simple?…. each classroom contains some boys, some girls, and a teacher… did I pick recipients that appealed to my audience? …. Did I use Maths to help Engineer as many votes as possible? …. I’ll let you decide, once again.

Posted on June 3, 2015 modantony in News, STFCWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Graham Wiggins did with his prize money…