Two of our PhD students took part in the most recent ‘I’m a Scientist Get me Out of Here’ competition, which connects real students with real scientists doing real science. Lori-Ann Foley and Sam Faircloth, who are both Planetary and Space Science students with the School of Physical Sciences, joined the ‘I’m a Scientist Space Zone’ to talk in chat rooms to enthusiastic young students across the UK. The competition is fast-paced, with the scientists being challenged to explain their science in live online chats and face evictions as the process goes on.
Lori-Ann said: “Taking part was great fun, educational for me and great for helping polish my science communication skills. The questions were varied and often insightful. It was great to see what was of interest to the students, as they led the discussions by asking the questions they wanted to.”
Sam said: “I was involved in the 'Space Zone' along with 6 other scientists and received all sorts of questions from "How big is the Moon?" to "How many stars are there in the Universe?". The children had me reaching for my 'Introduction to the Solar System' textbook, which was fantastic because I was able to remind myself about all of the wonderful things I had forgotten over the years.”
While Lori-Ann was an early eviction from the zone, Samantha made it to the finals and was only just pipped at the post by a galaxy-hunting lecturer from Lancaster.
I’m A Scientist Get Me Out Of Here is a great opportunity for scientists to connect with students and to brush up on communicating their science without jargon and undue complexity. We would recommend our researchers getting involved in future competitions because, as Sam says, we can “inspire the potential young scientists of tomorrow”.