When I entered I’m a Scientist I hadn’t even realised it was a competition (a lesson in reading things before you sign them)! All I saw was that for two weeks I could take part in chats and answer questions from students around the country, an opportunity to share my passion for science and specifically archaeology and human evolution.
I have been dedicated to outreach and dissemination even before I turned to academia as an adult (I don’t see the point in learning things if you’re not going to pass the information on) so this looked like a fantastic opportunity; I was not disappointed! It was only a week or so before the event that I realised there was a competitive element and I told myself that winning really didn’t matter, it was the chance to engage that was important.
Obviously, as the event progressed a competitive element arose. However, having done one chat as the only scientist in the room I swiftly realised that although we were competing, the other scientist and myself were also supporting and helping each other. With this in mind, I must offer a very firm and heartfelt thanks to Cheryl, Alun, Farah, Helen and Bastian; you guys are awesome and anyone of us would have been a deserved winner (I also learnt quite a bit from each of you!)
The questions posed of me were wide-ranging and often challenging, which is fantastic and gives me hope for a new generation coming forward with inquisitive and engaging minds. Weirdly I seemed to get a lot of questions which were physics-based, which is great as that’s a hobby of mine, but I was grateful for some assistance from scientists in other zones with more knowledge (specifically Harrison from the Particles Zone). Indeed, it was a joy to be able to dip in and out of several different zones and learn things from a vast range of experts.
Another very popular question concerned climate change, and whilst many of you are clearly passionate about the topic there was a consistent misunderstanding about the difference between climate change and global warming (the fault of our uneducated press, unfortunately). Thankfully I was also able to answer many great questions about my own specialist area and can only hope that I have inspired some of you to think more critically about evolution and potentially follow science further.
I am so grateful to all of you for turning up and engaging in the process, and especially to all that voted for me, it is very humbling to win considering the passion and skill of my competition! Once I heard I had won I instantly began contacting friends and scientists around the country to start pulling together some ideas for what I could do with the money, £500 won’t go far and I want to try and make it as impactful as possible. If there is any way I can I would love to include each of your schools in it, but we will have to see where it leads.
I already miss logging on and chatting with you all (and the super awesome Moderators), and will be encouraging everyone I know to apply and take part! A fantastic experience and massively rewarding – I truly hope you felt the same.
I saw a clip of St. Bridgets Primary watching the result being announced in the Plants Zone and it genuinely bought a tear to my eye, just fantastic to think of so many of you so excited by science. I really wish there had been something like this when I was at school, but alas my school had only just got its first computers when I started! Do all take care, keep asking questions and building strong foundations to your opinions; I hope that in the future I may even be working with some of you!
Scientists: Up for the challenge?
Want to answer some downright weird questions? Maybe even learn things from students?
I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here runs every March, June, and November.
It only takes 2 minutes and one sentence to apply!