What’s the BEST I’m a Scientist question?

I'm a Scientist mugsWe’ve been wondering what’s the best question in I’m a Scientist, and we’d like you to help us choose. So we’re running a competition.

There are so many amazing questions in I’m a Scientist, from ‘Would You Lick Jam Off An Old Man’s Foot Or Drink Toliet Water For An Hour And Why?‘ to ‘If gravitons travel at the speed of light, and the escape velocity of a black hole is greater than the speed of light, how is it that the gravitons can escape from the black hole?‘. And a question which often perplexes me, ‘Why are people annoying?

Some of them are clever, and insightful. Some of them are deceptively simple, but pose questions most scientists have stopped asking themselves. Some are just hilariously funny.

Sometimes, a seemingly simple question gets an unexpectedly interesting answer. A student in March’s Forensics Zone asked, ‘What’s your ringtone?‘. Mark Hill, who investigates road traffic accidents for the police, answered:

Mark Hill answered: Hi student 19, Being on-call at night, I like something that is gentle to wake me up. It also has to be different, so that I can tell it apart from other peoples phones – Bach’s prelude in c. If I go to a particularly nasty job, having been called out at night, I change the ringtone, as it tends to dwell on my mind every time I get a call after that. Thanks Mark.

To me, that answer that tells us more about the reality of doing Mark’s job, than any amount of in-depth questions would have done.

What’s YOUR favourite I’m a Scientist question? You can browse the site here, or use the search box to find questions on particular topics.

Any student question on the site is eligible, it doesn’t have to be from 2011.


The five best suggestions get goodie bags of glittering sciencey books, kindly donated by our friends at New Scientist, the Institute of Physics, The Guardian and the Wellcome Trust. AND, most importantly, a much sought-after I’m a Scientist mug, as modelled above by our lovely scientists.

First prize: Full set of 4 sciencey books – 2 Last Word books from New Scientist; ‘Why does E=MC2?’ by Brian Cox & Jeff Forshaw; How to Live Forever & 34 Other Really Interesting Uses of Science by Alok Jha. All in a stylish Wellcome Trust canvas bag. And an I’m a Scientist mug.

Runners up prizes: 2 books, bag and mug.

To enter

Twitter: tweet a link to the question, with your explanation of why it’s great, and the hashtag #iasbestQ.

Email: If you’re not on twitter, you can email admin@imascientist.org.uk, with iasbestQ in the subject line.

Competition closes Monday 5th September. We’ll pick what we think are the best questions based on the questions, the answers, and the reasons given. The judges decision is final.

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers” – Voltaire

Posted on August 8, 2011 by in Event News, News. Comments Off on What’s the BEST I’m a Scientist question?