Well it looks like the end of February/the beginning of March is one hectic time! Not only am I in the process of preparing libraries of 288 DNA samples to be sequenced, I’ve now been chosen to take part in ‘I’m a scientist, get me out of here!’.
For the 10th-21st March, http://www.imascientist.org.uk will be hosting live chats between scientists like me and full classrooms of school pupils who can ask just about anything! It is technically an X factor-style competition between us scientists, who will be voted out one by one after the first week (by the students!) to leave a winner in each zone grabbing £500 to spend on a public engagement project. In addition to the live chats, there will be the opportunity for students to post questions to be answered whenever we can (as soon as possible seems to be key!).
I can be found in the ‘Extreme size zone’ which makes me feel like I have a lot of physics to brush up on!
It just so happens that national science and engineering week falls on the 14-23 March so hopefully there should be a lot of interest from schools (and pass the message on to teachers who can sign up classes for the event!). What I love about the idea behind this event is that it really puts us scientists on the spot. It often seems like when something is complicated we will brush over it to students and pupils in order to not have to think properly how to explain it. Well for these weeks there will be no hiding from questions, we will be judged and I have no doubt that I’m the words ‘I honestly don’t know’ will be coming out of my mouth at many points!
I am so looking forward to this and hopefully have some of my lab supporting me (bearing in mind our bioinformatician is an astrophysicist at heart!) and fingers crossed I’ll make it to the end to claim the prize money (which just so you all know, I will be spending on a sensory science learning resource for pupils with special educational needs or austism spectrum disorders that prevent them accessing the mainstream curriculum).
Wish me luck!
http://ias.im/u.41154 (my profile)