BOC, a member of the Linde Group, took to the classroom this spring as it challenged school and college pupils to meet the Inspiring Gases Science Challenge.

The company challenged students to carve out a share in the Christmas gift market. Mike Dennis, Business Director of Bulk and Packaged Gases at BOC explained the thinking behind the task. “This challenge is about the way science and technology work in the real world. BOC takes sciences 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.”

But it wasn’t just pupils who benefited, indeed Jon Wilkins whose company markets water-rocket kits around the world, highlighted the importance of engaging the next generation. He 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.”

This year’s inspired challenge asked schools to investigate the way compressed gas, in this instance air, provides power for a rocket. Within the competition, teams were required to produce a scientific report on how to optimise the performance of a water / air powered rocket. But the crux of the challenge was whether students could prepare a business plan for selling their own version among the chaos of the Christmas toy market.

Winning team, a group of six Year 12 students from Guildford High School, convinced judges they could make an impact on Christmas sales with their custom-designed water rockets. Alice Ashpitel, winning team member, remarked, “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.”

The winning ‘Astroadventure Planet Hopper’ will now go forward to compete at this year’s Surrey Festival of Science which is scheduled to take place at the Brooklands Museum on 22nd June.