“I’m a Scientist is definitely the most fun I’ve had in my lab coat”

After every event we ask the zone winners to write a short blog post to be sent to all the students in who took part in the zone. It’s a great way for the scientists to reflect on the previous two weeks and thank all the students for voting for them.

Let’s take a look at what they had to say…


Jess, Colour Zone

I’m a Scientist is definitely the most fun I’ve had in my lab coat.

The questions were incredible, totally unpredictable and the scope was well beyond that going on academic circles; by the final I’d tried to prepare a few ‘go-to’ answers, “What is colour?”, “What happened during the big bang?”, “Will we ever cure cancer?..but I couldn’t predict a single one! After the 30 minute live chats my fingers were tingling so much I had to delay measuring polymers in the clean room.

I cannot express in words how much I’d recommend this to any PhD student, science technician or any academic with time on their hands.

It’s made me question every part of my research, assess how realistic I am and be more creative in my experimental design. It’s made me so proud to be a physicist, work at Imperial College and be able to help these curious kids.

James, Electromagnetic Zone

Things got serious, silly, deep, dark, hilarious, and on occasions weird; all in a 30 minute burst of direct exchange between today’s researchers and tomorrow’s minds.

It was *energising* – I loved it. And I learned a tonne of stuff myself.

Sarah, Extreme Force Zone

I really hope (and believe) more of you became enthused by science by the event, and can maybe envisage yourselves on the other side of the chat telling students in the future all about the great work you do.

Andy, Health Zone

It was exciting, loads of fun, I learnt loads of stuff I never expected to and it completely took over my whole life for two weeks! At midnight on the Saturday half way through the competition I was discussing “what is time?” with some friends at a wedding. It really made me think about things that I’d not considered before.

Laura, Hormones Zone

An event like this is a fantastic way of giving school pupils an idea of how many areas in science there are and to let them see that scientists really are quite normal people (mostly).

It was a manic two weeks but it was so much fun and VERY addictive! The Live Chats were crazy at times but always great fun and certainly kept me on my toes. Any chance I got, I was answering the question on ASK (all 214 of them!) – on my journey to work, breaks, lunch, journey home, on the way to meet friends – any chance I got!

Richard, Pharmacology Zone

Wow! What an amazing two weeks. Without a doubt, I’m A Scientist, Get me out of here has been one of the most enjoyable but exhausting experiences of my career.

The live chat sessions are insane!  Questions ranged from everyday trivia like “Batman or Superman?” through philosophy and ethics “should doctors be allowed to assist in suicides” to hard-core pharmacology “how are drugs developed?” Now…. imagine trying to handle all three of those questions simultaneously, and fast enough so that your competitors don’t get in there first with a killer answer, and you’ll have some idea what it was like and why it was such fun.

Thomas, Polymers Zone

[The students’ questions] got me thinking on all fronts – from how to describe my research, and why I actually carry it out, to appreciating why the sea is blue and coming up with a “hand-shaking and waving” analogy for pi and sigma bonding during a quiet evening – definitely a blast all in all.

Hayley, Ytterbium Zone

I was continually impressed with the questions posed by the students in both the live chats and also via ASK. My very first question to answer was about black holes (a topic waaaay out of my comfort zone!), so I’ve been learning myself from day one!

… I have learnt so many diverse facts from this event, including how chameleons are able to change colour and learning that plants may, in fact, have feelings!

Ryan, Thulium Zone

The two weeks of answering questions from you all was crazy. I’ve never gone out of my way so much to be on time for everything. I had alarms set so I could attend chats, I spent my evenings answering all the ASK questions which were left for me and others.

I had questions ranging from “how many stars exist” to “why do I do science” each question was fantastic and there were so many I actually had to stop, think about and wonder how it actually worked.

Normally I’m one quick fire answers back but there were so many questions where I had to stop and think to even form an idea of an answer.

The whole event was an experience and I recommend it to anyone to try it, you’ll learn so much not only about your own area of expertise but also about others.

Jonny, Lutetium Zone

Initially I didn’t know whether I should enter I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here. I’ve not really done much written science communication before and I didn’t know how I would come across without actually being present.

One thing I wasn’t prepared for was the breadth of the questions all of us scientists were asked. It made me realise how much I didn’t know.

Chris, Hafnium Zone

The last two weeks have been an absolute blast. The range of questions you get on the board is insane! You guys ask better/harder/faster/stronger questions  that I ever imagined coming into the contest.


If you think you can take the better/harder/faster/stronger questions… Want to discover new ways to communicate your work… Or want to learn new facts about chameleons…

Apply now to take part in the next event

Click to apply for I'm a Scientist

I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here runs every March, June, and November. For more information on the zones running in November 2015, take a look at this post.

Posted on July 27, 2015 Moderator - Josh in Event News, IAS Event, News | Leave a comment

Colour Zone Report – June 2015

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The Colour Zone was a primary school zone funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). The theme of the Zone was colour chemistry and Lynn, Kevin, Jade and Andrew were members of the RSC. Despite being one of the zones with fewer students in June 2015, the ASK section of the Zone was especially busy, with above average levels of both questions asked (1160) and comments left (72).

Students asked questions about colour and the research of the scientists, but also about broader general science topics such as space and the brain. There were also a number of questions asking about the scientists’ personal lives and opinions. Some of the live chats were led by the teacher taking questions from the class, meaning they were less lively, but very focused and on-task. The winning scientist, Jess, put a lot of effort into engaging with the students in ASK and the live chats, and was rewarded with victory.

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Posted on July 21, 2015 modantony in 2015, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Electromagnetic Zone Report – June 2015

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The Electromagnetic Zone was funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and involved four scientists, Miranda, James, Freya and Daniel, whose work was supported by the research council. The research of the scientists encompassed a wide range of uses for the electromagnetic spectrum, from treating cancer to encrypting data. As such, questions in the Zone related to many different areas of physics. Although the zone had fewer questions than most of the zones in June, the live chats were the busiest of all the zones and the attending scientists did well to engage with sometimes challenging classes.

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Posted on July 21, 2015 modantony in 2015, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Extreme Force Zone Report – June 2015

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The Extreme Force Zone was a themed zone funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). It involved five scientists whose work was supported by the STFC and was related to the fundamental forces of nature in extreme situations. The topics discussed in the Zone were focused around physics and related strongly to the research carried out by each scientist.

It was the one of the busiest June zones and both ASK questions (550 approved) and the live chats were extremely busy. This high level of engagement from the students was matched by most of the scientists in a competitive zone. For example, Steven, Lidunka, and Jillian each answered between 200 and 300 questions each and the scientists evicted early in the competition continued to attend the live chats.

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Posted on July 21, 2015 modantony in 2015, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Health Zone Report – June 2015

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The Health Zone was a themed zone funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Biochemical Society. The scientists involved were working in a range of different health areas including heart attacks, drug delivery, cancer cells, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and respiratory illnesses.

The Zone was very busy in ASK, and well over a 1000 questions were submitted during the event. Students asked questions about a wide range of health topics, human biology, the research of the scientists, and about science as a career. The majority of the scientists engaged well with the Zone and in particular the winner, Andy, attended nearly every live chat, contributing nearly half of the total lines.

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Posted on July 21, 2015 modantony in 2015, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Hormones Zone Report – June 2015

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The Hormones Zone was a themed zone part-funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Society for Endocrinology and four of the participating scientists (Saffron, Partha, Craig and Amy) were members of the Society. The zone was very focused on its theme and there was a relatively high number of answers from the scientists (816), resulting in each question receiving two answers on average.

Popular topics in the zone were sperm, muscle and diabetes. It was notable that Laura attended all but one live chat, sometimes as the only scientist present, and she dealt very well with some very busy situations.

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Posted on July 21, 2015 modantony in 2015, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Pharmacology Zone Report – June 2015

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The Pharmacology Zone was a themed zone part funded by the Wellcome Trust and the British Pharmacological Society, and the five scientists participating were members of the Society. It was a sixth form only zone and had the lowest number of registered students of the June Zones, but the highest number of schools (16).

The questions in the Zone were focused around pharmacology, chemistry and careers. The live chats in the Zone were calmer than a typical zone and during these Laura, Richard and Vedia in particular engaged very well with the students. Overall, there was a high level of productive conversation in the Zone on the theme of pharmacology and scientific research in general.

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Posted on July 21, 2015 modantony in 2015, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Polymers Zone Report – June 2015

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The Polymers Zone was a themed zone funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and Thomas, Ruhina, Rose and Anne were themselves members of the RSC. It was one of the quieter June zones and questions from students were a mix of those on polymers and broader aspects of chemistry.

The scientists were relatively equal in the number of questions they answered in ASK, whilst in the live chats Thomas, the zone winner, was the most active. The live chats varied in their pace and focus on the subject, with some being fast-paced and on-topic, whilst others were calmer or focused more on the students finding out about the personalities of the scientists.

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Posted on July 21, 2015 modantony in 2015, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Hafnium Zone Report – June 2015

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The Hafnium Zone was a general science zone funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). The Zone involved five scientists whose work was supported by the STFC, covering areas from neutrinos, to neuroscience, to computer programming to lasers. Question topics in the zone were very varied, reflecting the diverse research areas of the scientists.

It was the busiest of the June zones (521 active students) and consequently had the most questions approved (563) and the most live chats of any zone (23). The scientists worked hard to match this high level of engagement, with nearly every live chat attended by at least 3 scientists. The personalities and good humour of all the scientists were evident throughout the event, in both live chats and ASK.

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Posted on July 21, 2015 modantony in 2015, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Lutetium Zone Report – June 2015

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The Lutetium Zone was a general science zone comprising of five scientists working in a variety of fields from big data about theatre audiences to hydrogen production, to respiratory disease. This zone was one of the largest in June involving 446 active students who had nearly 500 questions answered on a very diverse range of topics, both related and unrelated to the scientists’ work.

The scientists did well to match the enthusiasm of the students with the final two, Jonny and Paul, both answering over 250 questions each. The scientists also did well to connect with individual students in the fast-paced live chats, even when facing a high volume of questions.

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Posted on July 21, 2015 modantony in 2015, Zone Reports | Leave a comment