“Easily the most enjoyable and rewarding STEM event I have taken part in”- March 2020 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 all the engagement of the previous 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, whether in the public, private or academic sector, and you’re keen to experience the ‘best crash course in scicomm’, apply now for events happening this year: imascientist.org.uk/scientists

Greg Heikel, City Hospital Nottingham, Antimicrobial Zone

Thank you all so much for taking part, we had so many great questions and I hope you all enjoyed it! I had a great time, it was really heartening to see the enthusiasm you all had for science and I hope that we have inspired some of you to enter science as a career. I still can’t really believe I won, especially with some amazing scientists in our zone, so thank you to everyone.


Priya Silverstein, University of Surrey, Childhood Zone

This took place during a very strange time, as in the two weeks of I’m a Scientist we went from most students not knowing what COVID-19 was to on the last day having their schools closed to protect against its spread. This really hit home how important science communication is in these unclear and scary times. The students were asking such important questions about COVID-19, and although it was scary to have to answer, “we just don’t know yet”, this is an important thing to highlight about science – it’s always in flux. The students were such troopers through this difficult time, and really cheered me up.


Catherine Talbot, Northumbria University, Community Zone

I had a great time speaking to the students about all thing’s psychology, science, and beyond. The students were so smart and asked some really thoughtful questions. They inspired me to think differently about my research, and how I can communicate it more clearly. I was amazed by how interested the students were in psychology, and I hope I have inspired some of them to pursue a career in this field. I also hope I’ve shown them that anyone can be a scientist – you don’t have to look a certain way!


Binuraj Menon, Warwick University, Copernicium Zone

Over the last two weeks, I was enjoying this opportunity to interact with all of you. I had engaged with many bright students and was challenged by several thought provoking questions. It was a great experience that also helped me to detach myself from work and to rewind my journey as a small kid to being a scientist. Of course, it is not an easy ride to be a scientist. Every moment you have to fuel yourself with passion, curiosity and perseverance. My advice is to stay focussed and chase your dreams. Never give up! Remember, it is not a rat race! You shouldn’t miss on any opportunity to relax or transfer your knowledge and experience to others. Knowledge is power but knowledge without action is useless.


Dave Constable, Lancaster University, Electromagnetic Zone

To all the students that asked questions in the Electromagnetic Zone: thank you! I had a lot of fun over the two weeks, interacting with you all, answering some really tough and thought-provoking questions. The questions came so rapidly, that I had to learn how to type really quickly! I was really impressed with the questions, as well as with what the important science questions students had in early 2020. There were a real variety, ranging from “Cats or dogs?”, to “how is a black hole formed?”, and lots of questions about Covid-19. Hopefully we were able to answer them all!


Douglas Bray, University of Leeds, Energy Zone

Thank you so much to everyone who voted for me, I was so happy to win. This has been a great experience and I have had some amazing questions and had a great time interacting with all the students.This engagement made me really think about my field and research in a completely different way, there are many questions that made me really have to think about my work and how it relates to people. All the students seemed very interest in how my work affects people in need and wanted to understand the impact it could have. I truly hope the answers that the other scientists and I gave the students a better idea of what we do and hopefully inspired them to follow a career in STEM.


Ben Cropper, University of Manchester, Flerovium Zone

The real driving force behind everything though is the students themselves. I’ve had some really good ones, with people coming back and asking a lot of really good and really silly questions, people staying behind after lessons to stay in the chat, and one particularly challenging class who made me feel a bit like I was a politician having to defend my policies! I hope they’ve got a lot out of this, whether because we’ve encouraged them to go on and become scientists, or just answered a tough question that’s been bothering them for a while. You were all fantastic, thank you.


Ross Alexander, Heriott Watt University, Food Zone

You all have been fantastic in asking questions and really thinking out of the box not just about bacteria but also about how we can create a sustainable planet. I know that in few years time you all would be going into different lines of career and it gives me immense pleasure to wish you the best in it. However, the most important thing that I want to tell you is that you should and must always follow your dream, do something that you would thoroughly enjoy and remember that knowledge is power.


Stacey New, Met Office, Livermorium Zone

The live chats were my highlight, I don’t think I’ve ever typed so fast, it was an adrenaline rush and I loved it! I also enjoyed answering all of the questions that the students asked, these ranged from ‘What do you burn and why do you burn it?’, ‘How can we stop climate change?’ and ‘Who inspired you to be a scientist?’, to ‘What’s you FIFA Ultimate Team rating?’ and ‘Who is your favourite YouTuber?’. I loved the fact that the students were super engaged especially regarding climate change, but also that the students just wanted to know more about us as people. I think it’s important to be relatable and show that scientists like all the same things as the students, from playing PS4 to enjoying eating burgers and sweets as treats!


Danica Pinto, Heriott Watt University, Molecule Zone

During the live chats and in the ASK section students came up with a range of mind-boggling questions I had never thought about before. We tend to forget some of the basic science knowledge as we get more engrossed in our own research that events like these help us get back in touch with some of these basics. The surprising part of the questions was that the students were not only interested in the science but were also keen on knowing the life and interests of scientists. This has surely helped many realise that ‘science is for me’ and see themselves be a scientist someday. This event has also helped me to communicate science effectively.


Baptiste Ravina, University of Sheffield, Moscovium Zone.

These past two weeks have been intense, to say the least, but it has been very rewarding to answer all of your questions (as best as I could!). You got me to think more clearly about how I perceive my field, my job and myself as a scientist, and that’s a fresh and positive perspective I hope to carry with me in the future. This event also came as I was finishing writing my PhD thesis; both helped me realise how far I’ve come in my understanding of physics and provided a welcome form of closure. I hope I get to share my experience and passion in more events like this one!


Mick Schubert, Texere Publishing, Nihonium Zone

Thank you so much for having me on I’m a Scientist! It was a fantastic experience. The live chats were a great way of engaging everyone, even at a distance. People obviously enjoyed them – sometimes, the questions came so fast we scientists couldn’t even keep up! The students had a way of making us think differently about our disciplines; after all, I’d never spent much time before wondering how many atoms are in a bacterium or what the strongest fabric is for making clothes.


Edward Banks, Boulby Underground Laboratory, Particles Zone

To all the school children; thank you so much for engaging and staying curious. I’ve had fantastic chats with lots of you about particles, about space, about minecraft and about pies. It’s great to be kept on your toes like this; you never know whether the next question will be stretching your knowledge of science, or keeping you amused, or anywhere in between. It is a strong reminder, if it’s needed, that our knowledge can be incredibly slim, no matter how detailed it is- even within related fields there’s so much I have yet to learn. I hope you’ve enjoyed chatting with us as much as I have!


David Sobral, Lancaster University, Space Zone

It has been fantastic to participate in I’m a Scientist and get to answer so many amazing questions. I felt that just chatting to students was already such an amazing prize, but I was obviously over the moon (over the Galaxy?) to know that students voted for me to win! Thank you so much to all of those that participated, that asked questions, that voted for me and for the other brilliant scientists, and also to I’m a Scientist team for all the hard work that continues to pay off so much!.


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


It only takes 2 minutes and one sentence to apply!

Posted on March 31, 2020 by modemily in News. Comments Off on “Easily the most enjoyable and rewarding STEM event I have taken part in”- March 2020 Winners’ blog posts