The Unbearable Lightness of Being a Moderator

Moderating I’m a Scientist was like driving through a terrific summer storm. Now the chatrooms have cleared, and emails have slowed to a patter, it’s time to venture out and take stock. Goodbye, question and answer sessions; hello, feedback forms! My favourite feedback response so far: “The scientists SEEM like normal people but I can’t be quite sure…” – thanks to imwithstupid for that comment.

After a fortnight of annoying everyone else at IAS HQ by reading all the chats aloud, I finally get to pay some students back for their hard work. I’m trawling through our student register, selecting the top students in each group. £20 in WHS vouchers will go to each winner. It’s a tough job indeed to cull three winners from hundreds of fantastic personalities! I’m selecting three who asked the best questions, voted in evictions, were most constructive in chat; I’m not just trying to pick a swot, or a ‘Moderator’s Pet’. (Thanks, by the way, to all the students who asked if they could vote for me… but flattery will get you nowhere!)

Some top questions from students in the final selection:

Where would yuo apply your knowledge of rectal incontenence , would it be for the elderly, the disabled of just everyone ?? what made you interested in this ??

Did you find when you were doing your cycling theory people treated you diffrent it you were dressed as a woman?

What’s your favourite toast topping?

(Marmite from New Zealand is less salty than ours, apparently. According to racoon94, the best breakfast combination is smarties on toast.)

How do you know that the anti-depressants are working, I mean do you handpick rats that are depressed, or are most rats depressed in modern society?

(a question to our neuroscientist studying the effects of antidepressants on rats)

some anti deoressants ie: diazepam are also classed as a drug as well as an anti depressent !!! how does that come about as i know that diazepam (valieum) can also make you feel very suicidal !!! …

Feedback is flocking home, too. Among the responses:

“i think that the [project] brief is important however if you havnt spoken to them in chat you dont feel in anyway obliged to vote for em”. – from student HAPPYSH33P

Student Cpeters praised the winning scientists, who have “the must hard hitting, vital research that requires the most attention, and [who] have described their complex issues extremely well”

Student hellyelly wants the next batch of scientists to be “fun ones, who know lots of jokes, and come to visit us to tell us why we should pick them”

A few comments from teachers:

The year 9s were really excited about asking and getting answers from the scientists straight away. One girl literally couldn’t believe that there was really a person answering the Qs, ‘like, right now?!!’ (Thanks, Janine Killough)

Thanks to you all for all your efforts over the last few months and please say a big thankyou to all the scientists who were brave enough to get involved. (Liz Howell)

I have enjoyed IAS immensely, thanks for the opportunity! When’s the next event? (Dan Hannard – it’ll be in March)

A couple from the scientists:

I find it interesting to hear other people’s views of science and scientists. Hopefully activities like doing “I’m a scientist..” will improve people’s image of science and scientists and prove we’re not all boring old men with beards (although there are some like that!) 😉 – Vicky Just

Even if I don’t win I hope that you have learnt new stuff from all our answers, seen that science is everywhere and for everyone (even if you don’t want to study it any further) and seen that scientists really value YOUR opinions! – Tamsin Langley

Finally, scientist quote of the fortnight goes to Sam Mugford:

“I was far more worked up about that vote than I thought i would be! I’m off to sit in a corner and rock gently for a while”.

See you all next year!

Posted on July 2, 2008 by in General, IAS Event, Science Education, Scientists. Tagged , , , , , , , . 1 comment

One Response to The Unbearable Lightness of Being a Moderator

  1. Sarah Gettings says:

    The students really enjoyed taking part in the live chat part of the project and I felt that they displayed some interesting opinions and asked some very valuable questions during the IVF debate. Most of the students were interested in the evictions and i get the impression that they were fairly pleased with the final choice. We all feel that the project was a positive experience and we would carry out a similar thing again.

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