Join us at the Barbican in London this weekend for two free live I’m a Scientist events giving you the chance to quiz real neuroscientists on the brain. Neuroscientists will be on stage taking audience questions at 3:45pm on Saturday and again at 3:15pm on Sunday as part of the Barbican Weekender. Each day, five scientists will compete for the votes of the audience to win a place in the final which takes place on the evening of Tuesday 9th April in Cinema One at the Barbican. Meet the NeuroScientists Saturday: Thomas Butts – Kings College London We study the evolution of the brain and its associated nerves – how does the developing embryo make neurons that allow it to sense the world around it? and how did it evolve new neurons, and in really large numbers? Martin Coath (@mcoath) – University of Plymouth I write computer programs and help to design … Continue reading
Postcards are great. They’re just the right size to hand out to people, leave in staffrooms, or take to conferences and meetings. They also look pretty, and get across the ‘feel’ of what I’m a Scientist is about. We’ve printed sets of brand spanking new postcards for teachers and scientists. There are 4 designs each for teachers and scientists, with 4 of our favourite questions students have asked over the years. And we need your help to distribute them all over the UK. Please email email@example.com or leave a comment on this post, if you’d like a bunch to hand out. Let us know: whether you’d like postcards for scientists or teachers (or both!) the address we should send them to We’ll post 100 unless you’d like more.
I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here is an award-winning online event allowing teenagers to interact with real live scientists. We’re looking for 4 moderators to work on the next event which will run from the 11th to the 22nd of March 2013. We will also be running a zone in I’m an Engineer at the same time, which will also need moderating. Your key responsibilities will be will be: hosting/moderating live chats approving questions checking the site for errors and inappropriate content helping to run the site It’s actually a lot of fun as the students (and scientists) are quick and funny and full of energy. And hey, promoting science engagement is a good thing. What we’d like from you.. You should be bright, pick stuff up easily, ideally with an interest in science engagement. You’ll have great attention to detail and will enjoy being online, perhaps have … Continue reading
We’ve selected the scientists and schools (all will be revealed next week) and we’ve looked at where they are across the country. We want to work closely with STEMNet contract holders to promote our events to teachers, scientists and engineers, so we’ve calculated how many schools, classes and scientists are in each STEMNet contract area. From that we’ve calculated the estimated number of interactions (or Live Chats as we call them) we expect per area. On average each class has one live chat and each scientist attends seven. The best news was that there are only 3 areas where there is no activity. We are doing science engagement and enrichment across the country. But where do we have most activity? Most classes signed up: Bristol, Bath and Somerset – 25 Lancashire – 19 Surrey, Central and East Berkshire & West Yorkshire – 18 Special Kudos to Liz Lister in Bristol, … Continue reading
Over the years we’ve had great support from schools across the world taking part in I’m a Scientist. There is one teacher who has been involved from almost the beginning, taking classes from 3 different school across different time zones, onto the site. I can imagine the event helps english-speaking students at schools across the world keep in touch with the UK through science. Having science questions from students in Budapest or Singapore makes our events more engaging too. Some of the keenest students have been based abroad. But Our funding from the Wellcome Trust is for only 50% of our costs and is only for schools in the UK. That means we need to give priority to UK schools and this March we are full. There is a way for overseas schools to take part. If we charge to cover some of the cost for you to take part … Continue reading
I’m a Scientist is too good to keep to ourselves. We want to run it across Europe. We can’t do that on our own so we’re looking for others who want to join us in making it happen. Saskia Heijltjes is working with us to explore options, but we’d really like to help from any organisations across Europe who’d like to make the event happen in their country. There is more information about how we run IAS overseas here.
We run I’m a Scientist 3 times each year – March, June & November. The March events are always busy and popular with teachers. It coincides with National Science & Engineering Week and the timing fits in well with schemes of work. Thanks to more funding we’ve added 2 more themed zones – a Digital Zone and a Food Science Zone (more on these later this week in another post). Despite these zones creating 50 extra class places we weren’t prepared for just how oversubscribed we would be this time round. 11 zones with 25 classes in each zone gives 275 class spaces up for grabs. 142 teachers asked for 374 classes between them. Making the event oversubscribed by 36%. So, how have we allocated classes? Give as many teachers as possible places, ie give fewer classes to more teachers Cap the number of classes per teacher at 5 Try … Continue reading
Are male and female brains different? Is the brain more like a sponge or a computer? Do we really only use 10% of our brain? We’re taking I’m a Scientist on the road again. In March and April as part of Wonder: Art and Science on the Brain, a partnership between the Barbican and Wellcome Trust supported BNA2013: Festival of Neuroscience we are running 3 live I’m a Scientist live events. Instead of answering questions from the safety of your lab we’re asking Neuroscientists to get on stage to take questions directly from an audience. On Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd March, comedian and geek songstress, Helen Arney will be compering the events as part of the Barbican Weekender. Five scientists will compete for the votes of the audience to win a place in the final which takes place on the evening of Tuesday 9th April in Cinema One at … Continue reading
Paul Higgins from Trinity College Dublin, won the Space Zone in I’m a Scientist, Ireland this November. He was interviewed by Maria Delaney for sciencecalling.com, scroll down to have a listen.. We put this up, not just because it’s awesome, but because Paul explains perfectly the purpose and point of I’m a Scientist; the importance of outreach, that it’s not just beneficial for students, but for scientists too.. And obviously, how much fun it all is. Congratulations Paul! “I’ve always has this fear of having to talk to primary school students as I think they’re going to tear me apart or ask hard questions I don’t know and they won’t like my answers or something, so I think this is a really good way to get scientists to realise that it’s actually not that scary and they actually are interested in science. If you’re excited they’ll be excited. So it’s … Continue reading
For I’m a Scientist to work we need to run zones that teachers and students want. So when we’re deciding on zones to run in the next event we ask teachers to tell us what they want. Teachers voted on a longlist of zones we drew up – they could select as many as they’d be interested in taking part in. We also asked them for suggestions for other zones. Over 100 teachers told us what zones they’d like to see. The results are below.
After taking part in I’m a Scientist in June 2012, Ellie Russell, a science teacher from Trinity CE High School in Hulme, told us about other ways she uses I’m a Scientist resources. Here’s what she said… I can’t remember who first told me about I’m a Scientist last year, but straight away I knew it was a concept that would appeal to our students. Since then we have signed up for several zones with different classes and the students have truly enjoyed engaging with real scientists and finding out a bit more about what they do. To be honest, even though I’ve been really keen, it’s taken me a few more months to realise just how useful some of the other resources are for us too. We teachers are never very keen to read through all that useful support information! The Debate Kits for Drugs in Sport and IVF … Continue reading
I was reading a thread on GM technology on the Debate Zone in SagaZone and saw these three comments: That’s because I’m not a scientist. I’ve asked in this thread for articles that don’t support my opinion but as yet no one has furnished them. I’m guessing it’s harder to find them than the ones that support me. My guess is that we are not sufficiently interest to bother That’s fine, I’m not asking anyone to contribute to the thread. Although there are those sufficiently interested to join in I see It was apparent during our GM Food Zone event and the evaluation afterwards that that people who opposed GM technology were far more likely to comment than those who were in favour of it. The comments above however demonstrate the danger of that. A vacuum will be filled. If people who support research into controversial technologies do not speak … Continue reading
We now have our new mods for this year’s first I’m a Scientist event, and the first ever I’m an Engineer! While we welcome our six new team members, here is some short feedback for those who applied but didn’t get to interview. There were loads of excellent applicants this year and we were especially impressed by all the amazing science communication work you had all been doing. From writing to volunteering at festivals, it’s great to see people who are passionate about communicating science, especially to young people. In this job, being able to handle groups of excited teens is definitely a plus. We interviewed people who stood out because of their proven passion for the subject, but also based on their cover letters. This is the best way to try and get to a feel for what a candidate is like. So we like letters that get your … Continue reading
I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here is an award-winning online event allowing teenagers to interact with real live scientists. We’re looking for 5 moderators to work on the next event which will run from the 12th to the 23rd of March. I’m an Engineer is launched at the same time and also needs moderating! Your job would be hosting/moderating live chats, approving questions, checking the site for errors and inappropriate content and helping to run the site. It’s actually a lot of fun as the young people are sparky and funny and full of energy. And hey, promoting science engagement is a good thing. You should be bright, pick stuff up easily, ideally with an interest in science engagement. You’ll have great attention to detail and will enjoy being online. The site is all built on WordPress, so if you’ve used that the techy stuff will be pretty … Continue reading
This morning I cut down the survey we ask teachers to fill out after taking part in I’m a Scientist. The old survey was a hefty 41 questions long, and the new one has just 18 questions. By looking at teachers’ previous responses to the 41 questions we were able to identify the questions which worked, and the questions which didn’t. Using this information we’ve made the survey simpler. It’s also more quantitative. Funding from the Wellcome Trust for the next 3 years allows us to improve the way we evaluate I’m a Scientist, and move to evaluating outcomes through more quantitative measurements. My next task is to do the same for the scientist and student surveys, and cut them down from 28 and 25 questions.
How can we evaluate the impact on students taking part in I’m a Scientist? Can we measure if they’re more likely to take a STEM subject at A Level? If they’re more likely to study science at University? How should we use the large amounts of data generated by online projects? How can we share our evaluation in a more useful way? These are just some of the questions we’re trying to answer about evaluating I’m a Scientist and other Gallomanor run projects. Judging from the first in a series of seminars looking at Evaluating Impacts of Public Engagement and Non-Formal Learning, last Friday 4th November, others are thinking along the same lines. The Core Issues & Debates seminar kicked off the series at the Dana Centre in London, and bought together a range of researchers, evaluators and learning and communication practitioners. Future seminars focus on areas such as how … Continue reading
We’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 … Continue reading
We have now chosen the scientists and schools for I’m a Scientist, Get me out of Here! in June. Zones This June is our biggest ever event, with 23 ‘zones’. 12 are general and named after elements, containing a broad range of scientists and research areas. 11 are themed zones, with themes from Microbiology to Energy Generation, Ecology and Marine and Underwater Science. Due to popular demand we are repeating some themed zones from previous years – Sports Science, Genes, Brain, Forensic Science and Evolution. We’re particularly excited about the Healthy Ageing zone sponsored by RCUK’s Lifelong Health and Wellbeing programme, and the Quantum zone which is sponsored by the Institute of Physics. Schools There’s a big variety in the schools taking part, with students involved from Singapore and Hungary to the Isle of Skye. We hope that, as in previous years, classes at these schools are going to have a great experience taking part. … Continue reading
The next I’m a Scientist event, in June, will be the biggest ever. Wondering what zones we’ll have? Well wonder no more! Themed zones Sports Science Zone Quantum Zone (sponsored by the Institute of Physics) Microbiology Zone Marine and Underwater Science Zone Healthy Ageing Zone (sponsored by Research Councils UK) Genes Zone Forensic Science Zone Evolution Zone Energy Generation Zone Ecology Zone Brain Zone General Zones Phosphorous Sulphur Calcium Scandium Titanium Vanadium Chromium Manganese Iron Cobalt Nickel Copper Themed zones will have scientists who all work on something related to the topic of the zone. The topics were mainly chosen by teachers, because we believe in listening to our participants as much as possible. General zones will have a mix of scientists, from all different areas of science. We’re particularly excited about our two sponsored zones – Quantum Zone (all about very very small things), sponsored by the Institute of … Continue reading
We would like to congratulate the following winning students from the March 2011 event. The moderators thought they all asked good questions and really engaged with the event. The students winners of I’m a Scientist, Get me out of Here! are: Name School Zone Andrew Wood Tiffin School Argon Benjamin Case Mangotsfield Secondary School Chlorine Erin Ibbetson Broadoak Mathematics & Computing College Forensic Science Samuel Porter The Kings School, Devon Potassium Ahmad Dehghani West Thames College Space Calvin Mallion Chafford Hundred Campus Stem Cell Research Well done to all the students above! They have now received their student winners certificates and WHSmith vouchers. We would also like to thank all the other students who participated. Everyone contributed to the brilliant chats and thought provoking questions, which made this year’s I’m a Scientist, Get me out of Here! one of the most exciting and fun events yet.