If you’d like the chance to win funding for your own public engagement work, apply for the next I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: imascientist.org.uk/scientist-apply
Following my experience with I’m A Scientist I was keen to do something with the prize money that would directly engage with school children to raise awareness of air pollution and the risks of exposure with an experience in which they could truly visualise it.
One of the questions that I got asked a lot in the healthy cities zone was where the most polluted place in the world was, so it seemed appropriate that I spent my prize money supporting the Michael Pinsky pollution pod installation at MediaCityUK in Manchester as part of Clean Air Week in June 2019.
Brought to Manchester by Cape Farewell in partnership with Transport for Greater Manchester, the Pollution Pods were made available to school groups and the public throughout Clean Air Week. The artwork installation used harmless, specially created atmospheres in five interconnected geodesic domes to simulate dangerously polluted air quality in cities around the world.
The unique, interactive experience takes you on a fascinating journey through the pollution and air quality of cities across the world. A series of climatically controlled pods compare five contrasting global environments where the air quality, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide levels of five cities is recreated. Starting with the truly clean air of Tautra in Norway, continuing through the astonishing smog and pollution of London, New Delhi, Beijing and Sao Paolo.
The event had 185 students (Y4-6) from 6 schools attend on the 21st June who were given the opportunity to experience the air quality in different city pods as well as take part in several educational activities that revolved around air pollution and lung function.
In total, £164 was spent on travel and accommodation expenses for volunteering at Clean Air Week in Manchester with £236 being spent on materials for the interactive experiments.
Following the 2018 competition I signed up as a STEM ambassador and have been looking for further opportunities to assist schools with their science projects.