When I applied I had only a vague idea of what the competition involved, do a few chats and answer a few questions. Easy I thought. Ha! 14 chats and many many questions later all I can say is ‘Wow!’ I’ve done a few public engagement activities before, but none as full on as trying to type answers to multiple questions being fired at you simultaneously by a class of enthusiastic children.
The sheer range of topics was truly inspiring and trying to think of answers under time pressure was exhilarating. Hopefully you guys got something from our answers, I certainly learned a few things along the way – I now know what balut is! And maybe next time I’ll work out what my best experiment has been and what I’d do if I wasn’t a scientist. Sadly some questions will remain forever unanswered, One Direction, JLS or The Wanted…my secret!
As a predominately lab based researcher, it is all too easy to get wrapped up in the details of our own research area and forget that it is part of our jobs as scientists to encourage and inspire the next generation. IAS allows you to do this all from the comfort of your office! Having had such a great time, I’ll certainly be encouraging my colleagues to sign up for the next event.
I’m looking forward to being able to give the prize money to the Teacher Scientist Network (www.tsn.org.uk) a Norwich based charity who work to link scientists with local schools to promote science education. Their resources and help have allowed me to engage with a range of local schools in the past and I look forward to working with them in the future.
Finally thanks once again to you guys for not just voting, but for taking part and making the IAS experience so much fun. Keep enjoying your science.