UPDATE – The Science and Engineering Challenge has been postponed until later in 2020, as a result of COVID-19 and social distancing requirements.
The Office of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer is the principal sponsor of the Science and Engineering Challenge (SEC). This event is run by the University of Newcastle and allows NSW high school students in Years 9 and 10 the chance to experience how science and engineering can help to solve real-world problems in a fun, competitive setting. Teams of students from different schools compete against each other in a series of eight challenges, including:
- Bridge: students construct a model bridge out of balsa wood and masking tape, which then has to support a railcar carrying increasingly heavy weights as it races across a test rig
- Catapult: after constructing their swing-arm catapult out of dowel, students gain points for length and accuracy of the flight of their projectile
- ElectraCITY: with a powered board, students use cables to connect power to a city's infrastructure at the lowest possible cost
- Helter Skelter Shelter: towers are constructed from common materials and then tested for strength and stability, through the use of weights and a shaking base which simulates an earthquake.
Qualifying teams compete in the NSW Finals, with the NSW champion school participating in the Science and Engineering Challenge National Final.
Below, a selection of images show the fun, ingenuity and mayhem on display at an SEC Challenge Day held at Sydney Olympic Park's Quaycentre in March 2018.