Leon Chen

Leon was born in Sichuan province China and came to the UK at the age of five.

Leon during his bursary projectHe first got involved in the Nuffield Research Placements scheme through his Technology College, Corfe Hills School in Dorset. Leon was awarded a placement to work on a project at the University of Bath, using wind tunnel facilities to conduct tests on unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) aerodynamics; particularly that of the Delta wing. His project looked at how wing camber affected lift and stall characteristics using various visualisation techniques. Speaking about his project, Leon said:

"I believe that getting the correct technology for unmanned flight is critical to saving energy and making more accurate aerial observations possible; hence I called the project 'Visualising the future'.

Leon at the EU Youth Scientist ContestThe project was later entered for the British Science Association Gold Crest award as well as being put forward for the National Science fair. Leon enjoyed success after being scrutinized by judges including Professor Robert Winston and was nominated as one of three to travel to Stockholm to represent the UK in the 18th EU Youth Scientist Contest. There he competed against and met students from around Europe and mingled with Nobel Laureates in the town hall.

Today, Leon is doing a Masters in Engineering Science at Oxford and is an Oxford-Man Institute of Quantitative Finance scholar after achieving the top Mathematics grade in the UK in his national exams. He has judged at three consecutive years of the science fair since winning in 2006 and has been involved in judging for the teachers’ award for the last two years. This year Leon was asked to present a speech about enterprise and science at the Parliamentary launch of the Big Bang competition in the Houses of Commons.

Having helped to found a student newspaper originally called Career Gateways, he is confident that entrepreneurship really adds value to society. He developed his understanding of enterprise by working with Oxbridge Applications then establishing Gateways newspaper and finally going on to work for Peter Jones of Dragons' Den.

In the summer of 2008, Leon returned to China amidst the aftermath of the Sichuan Earthquake and worked to set up a library and youth club. He was also the concluding speaker at the International Earth Forum in Beijing.

In his own words, Leon loves to “chill out the hard way” and has represented the GB Triathlon team in two World Championships - Lausanne in 2006 (in fact a week after the EU young scientist contest) and Hamburg in 2007.

Being passionate about environmental issues, Leon has set up Sustainable Chinese Enterprise to encourage youth participation in the topic of sustainability from an entrepreneurial perspective. It also aims to strengthen ties between talented youth in China and the UK through Suchen’s fellowship program. Leon says:
"I was highly motivated by attending the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Summit and I'm looking forward to getting involved in the youth side of COP15 at the end of 2009."

Leon has just been selected for the 2009 BP Antarctica expedition team, exploring the continent as well as discussing what must be done to protect it:

"I would like to thank the Nuffield Foundation for opening up all these incredible opportunities – I would advocate Science and Engineering for all young people, encouraging them to apply themselves in an innovative way whenever possible."