“I was in awe at the intelligence of the students” – November 2018 winners’ blog posts

After every event we ask the winning scientists to write a short post to be sent to all the students who took part in the zone. It’s the perfect way for the scientists to reflect on the previous two weeks, thank all the students for voting for them, and talk about how they plan to use their £500 prize money.

If you’re a scientist keen to experience the ‘best crash course in scicomm’, apply now for the next event, taking place 4th – 15th March 2019, at imascientist.org.uk/scientist-apply


Abbie Jordan, University of Bath, Childhood Zone

I was astounded at the range and quality of questions that we were asked in our zone, from our thoughts about the nature/nurture debate, the relationship between social media and wellbeing to whether mermaids are real. I was blown away by the detailed questions about my work and the impact that it will have on the lives of young people and their families. These questions really made me think and that’s a great thing!


Callum McHugh, University of the West of Scotland, Crystallography Zone

Most of all I’ve enjoyed being able to talk about things that are important to you, like why we chose our careers, what our favourite experiments are, what is crystallisation all about, why is our research important, what is our biggest contribution to science and who inspired us to work as scientists. I’ve also enjoyed chatting about things like our hobbies and interests too. There really is nothing that special about scientists; we’re all just normal people and I hope that came across to you all


Danny Ward, John Innes Centre, Epidemic Zone

I thought this was wonderful to see so many students genuinely interested in research and the life of a scientist. I’ll be honest, at secondary school… I didn’t even really know what a scientist was or how you became one. I had never met anyone who worked as a scientist either. I think a competition like I’m a Scientist is such a brilliant way to get us scientists out there to help show what being a scientist is all about to the next generation.


David Ho, Imperial College London, Fast Computing Zone

Unfortunately I can’t remember the student’s username, or the exact wording, but the initial question was something like “Do you think people will learn about your work in the future?” I replied something basically saying “Maybe if I’m very, very lucky.” The response was something along the lines of: “Well, if we remember your chat with us then will that do?” And that summarises everything for me: if over the competition I or any of the other scientists have said something that somebody will remember, or that sparks someone’s interest to learn more, then I consider this an absolute success.


Alex Reid, University of York, Memory Zone

What would happen if we cured death? What is the meaning of life? What experiences or events have changed my life? What changes do I want to see in the world? In some instances I had to take a long walk before responding to mull things over. The fact that some of these amazing questions engaged me in this way is a testament to you, the students. You are a bright and thoughtful bunch. Thank you for inspiring me and making my last fortnight one to remember.


Rachel Sharman, University of Oxford Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute, Sleep Zone

Beyond the science, I’m a Scientist helps to demystify STEM as a career. It allowed all six of us to chat about our stories of how we fell into sleep science. As a woman in science, first generation university graduate, and a person with dyslexia it was great to be able to chat about my science journey with students. On a personal level, being asked why we love our jobs, what is the best thing we have researched, and who inspired us took me right back down memory lane, reliving my steps to where I am now and why I am so thankful for those who helped me get here when I was a student.


Liam Taylor, University of Leeds, Sustainability Zone

As a PhD student, I spend a lot of time focussed on very tiny problems. This forced me to take a step back and just appreciate just how COOL science is again! Thank you so much for this. … Being a part of I’m a Scientist has genuinely changed me as a scientist. Moving forward, I will learn to take a step back and properly appreciate just how cool science is. I’ll also challenge the simple and not be afraid to ask questions!


Graeme Poole, University of Bristol, Einsteinium Zone

During my PhD and subsequently in my postdoc, I have always been aware of the obvious positives about STEM outreach. Yet taking part in I’m a Scientist has shown me how vital it can be for us scientists to promote our own research and inform the public (who are ultimately funding many of us through taxes). Moreover, it is such an incredible tool to inspire and engage with the next generation of young scientists still at school. For anyone considering taking part in future I’m a Scientist events I only have two words of advice – DO IT!!!


Kelly Rushton, The University of Manchester, Fermium Zone

Over the course of the two weeks I have learned so much, I was asked so many intuitive questions by students about my work that I had never considered before – young minds are amazing at seeing things in such a raw way. I was in awe at the intelligence of the students – had I not known their age I would have guessed them to be much older. They tested my knowledge on so many things and I remembered parts of science that I thought I had forgotten!


Iain Staniland, British Antarctic Survey, Mendelevium Zone

When I initially applied I had no real idea what lay in store, I don’t think any of us realised how much we would care by the end! The format is really clever and draws you into the whole thing. The evictions were tense and everyone was genuinely upset at people leaving (even though they weren’t actually going anywhere and could still participate). Hopefully together we will have inspired a new generation of students to consider a career in science or at least to appreciate what it is all about.


If you’re up for the challenge, want to answer some downright weird questions, even learn things from students…


Apply to take part ❯


I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here runs every March, June, and November. It only takes 2 minutes and one sentence to apply!

Posted on November 26, 2018 by in News. Comments Off on “I was in awe at the intelligence of the students” – November 2018 winners’ blog posts