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British Science Week: the most inspiring moment of all time

26 March 2019

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s touch down on the moon in 1969 is named as the most inspiring scientific moment of all time in new research report.

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To mark the approaching 50th Anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s touch down on the moon in 1969, new research from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) shows that almost a quarter of all Brits (23%) named the event as their most inspiring scientific moment of all time.

• Almost half of Brits say space-related advancements are what they are most looking forward to in the next 10 years.
• Almost a quarter of Brits felt inspired by the moon landing in 1969.
• More than a third (36%) named a past space-related advancement as their most inspiring scientific breakthrough.
• 30% of men named the moon landing as their most inspiring moment compared to 15% of women.

During British Science Week, the IET fully embracing the power of top scientific and engineering feats and how crucial it is to have modern day STEM role models to help inspire young people in their career choices.

The moon landing falls just behind other outstanding inspirational breakthroughs such as DNA technology (33%), the launch of the World Wide Web (32%), and the very first heart transplant (31%).

The research also revealed that, whilst 36% of those aged 55+ said that the moon landing was their most inspiring scientific breakthrough, only 16% of those aged 16-24 said it was theirs, illustrating that inspiration stems from remembering and feeling a part of a phenomenal event.

The IET’s Young Woman Engineer of the Year and aspiring astronaut Sophie Harker, an Aerodynamics Engineer at BAE Systems, says: “My passion for promoting engineering and drive as an aspiring astronaut completely comes down to a chance meeting with Dr Helen Sharman – the first Briton in space and the first female astronaut to visit the MIR space station. I would not be an engineer had it not been for the inspiration Dr Sharman instilled in me, so without doubt inspirational role models can play a key part in shaping young people’s futures and we definitely need more.

“I truly believe that by celebrating incredible engineering feats, such as the moon landing and more recently Tim Peake’s space mission, we can inspire a nation to love Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths and discover exciting and life-changing career paths.”

When thinking about the next 10 years of STEM, almost half of respondents (48%) most look forward to space-related advancements, going to show that space can’t help but serve to inspire. Whilst more than a fifth of people are most excited about landing the first settler on the Red Planet, Mars in 2023 in particular (22%), the topmost anticipated future breakthrough is, perhaps understandably, the progression in the field of medicine/cancer diagnosis (50%).


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