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.
We’ve started using a new toy here at I’m a Scientist. It’s called Storify and is “a way to tell stories using social media”. Storify allows you to build up a story by gathering media such as tweets, blog posts and photos in one place. You can re-order the content how you like, and add descriptions and commentary to explain what’s going on. Creating a story of the event will be helpful in a few ways: Firstly, it will provide commentary during the event, all in one place. Anyone interested in the event, from teachers to scientists and sponsors, can easily get a feel for what I’m a Scientist is about. Secondly, we’ll have a record of the event to look back on. Whilst we follow what’s being said about I’m a Scientist on sites such as twitter at the time, it’s easy for updates to get lost and forgotten … Continue reading
You’ve all been asking questions like crazy and having lots of live chats with our lovely scientists. The website has been about 50% busier than at the same time last year! We were worried that you’d be wearing out the scientists, but they seem to be loving it. One said they are now addicted to live chats. And another says he’s learning new skills – like the ability to write answers to questions really really fast. We hope you are having fun. Remember, you’ve got until Friday 25th March to ASK questions CHAT to scientists And, most importantly, VOTE for who you think should get £500! Don’t forget to ‘like’ scientists’ answers if you think they are good – otherwise how will they know what sort of answers you want? Remember, this is the event where YOU are in charge.
We prepare a lot for I’m a Scientist. We check our lists, we cross off tasks, we write new lists of things to check. The one thing we can’t really do is test how the site will operate under stress. It really helps to have a couple of hundred students trying to access the live chats for that. This morning you obliged and we found something was lacking. A piece of technical wizardry called MemcacheD wasn’t running. MemcacheD basically stores the most used parts of the database in memory and it means less work for the database. Without it the database gets overloaded. This morning with three live chats all at the same time it got overloaded and eventually the server stopped working. The good news is we got MemcacheD started again just before we needed to reboot the server. Since then the site has been used very heavily again … Continue reading
Do you think science is perfect, or is there something about it you want to change? And can the internet help you do it? Is the peer review system broken? Why do we still publish research papers? What are the problems with the system? What’s the proper relationship between government and scientific advisors? Are there barriers (that we could change) to women excelling in science, or are they just not as good at it? What about ethnic minorities and people from different socioeconomic groups? How can scientists explain the value of their work (and funding it)? Are scientists answering (or asking) the questions that really matter? Are there ways that scientists could gain by communicating better with others in their field? With scientists in other fields? With people outside science? Fold.it and Galaxy Zoo are great. Are there other areas where people could get involved in actually taking part in … Continue reading
In I’m a Scientist we ask all the scientists to tell us a joke. It turns out everyone loves this bit of the scientist’s profiles, so we thought we would gather them all here together, for your delight and delectation… Zone Scientist Joke Beryllium Philip Wadler There are two kinds of people—those who think there are two kinds of people, and those who don’t. Ian Sillett Why did the scarecrow win a nobel prize? He was outstanding in his field! (Topical?) Derek Mann Q. What did the fish say when he swam into the wall? A. Dam! Daniel Mietchen Schrödinger’s cat walks into a bar … and doesn’t. Boron Vicki Stevenson how many physicists does it take to change a light bulb? 2 – 1 to hold the bulb and 1 to rotate the universe Keith Brain 3 people travelling in a bus through the Australian countryside see a black … Continue reading
This is a last reminder: We really want to hear from you! What do you think, did you like I’m a Scientist? What did you like/dislike about it? Was it better or worse than normal lessons? You should fill in our survey and tell us what you think. It helps us make it better for next time. Also you’ll go into a prize draw for £20 WH Smiths vouchers. Survey is here http://www.surveygizmo.com/s/307117/i-m-a-scientist-june-2010-tell-us-what-you-think- Thanks for your help!
It’s almost two weeks since I’m a Scientist ended. Doesn’t time fly? Do you miss it? We do, but we’re maybe a bit sad like that. Now we want to know what YOU think about it, what you liked and what you didn’t. If you tell us what you thought, it helps us make it better for next time. Also, you’ll go into a prize draw to win £20 of WH Smiths vouchers. Student survey: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s/307117/i-m-a-scientist-june-2010-tell-us-what-you-think- Thanks for telling us, we really appreciate it.
As you all know, there are evictions every day for the rest of the week! You get a vote every day, so remember to keep voting for your favourite scientist. But how do the scientists feel, being bombarded with questions and then facing eviction? One of the scientists who took part in I’m a Scientist in March, the lovely Louise Buckley, has agreed to tell us about what the scientists taking part are REALLY thinking… Hey there! I am Louise one of the scientists from the last “I’m a Scientist….” event. This competition is looking even more exciting than when I took part – I cannot believe how many questions are getting asked. It’s a total mash-up of questions – these scientists are going to need to take a holiday afterwards to recover! I bet the scientists are starting to feel nervous now about who’s going to get evicted. We … Continue reading
Well no, OK, funnily enough FIFA aren’t changing their match times because of I’m a Scientist evictions. But we do have an eviction planned for 3.30pm on Wed, during the England vs Slovenia game. Because we are kind, caring people here at I’m a Scientist, we have decided to bring the time of Wednesday’s eviction forwards to 3pm. This means that you (and the moderators, who’ve been working very hard, and deserve a break) can relax and watch the match, with your eviction worries behind you. Apologies to those of you not supporting England, but we would move evictions for Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland matches too. If there were any. Also apologies to those of you who don’t like football. Me either. I and the two non-English mods will be looking after the site on our own while the match is on. Please try not to break anything. Other … Continue reading
As you all know, the winner of I’m a Scientist gets a £500 grant to spend on science communication. And you students decide who gets it! So we thought we’d have a little look at some of their plans for the money. Here’s a few of the more interesting ones:- Beryllium Treasure Hunt Daniel Mietchen, from Beryllium Zone, is planning to share a bit of it (£50!) with the first student to work out his scientific puzzle. This is open to all students, not just in Beryllium Zone, so get your thinking caps on if you think you’d make a good scientific detective! Scan your Teacher Tom Hartley, in Imaging Zone, would use the money to scan one class’s teacher’s brain. While the teacher does a task chosen by the class. No, rude things not allowed I’m afraid. But you might be able to see inside your teacher’s head! The … Continue reading
Well the first week is almost over already and it’s been incredibly hectic. This is already the busiest event we’ve ever run – we’ve had nearly 4,000 visitors, just in the last few days! Thank you to all the students for the interesting, funny and thought-provoking questions. And thanks to all the scientists for all the hard work they’ve put in answering them. Students – feel free to comment wherever you want to on the site. Visitors – although you can’t comment, you are very welcome to have a look round and read everything. If you want to you can follow us on twitter – our twitter feed is http://twitter.com/imascientist, or the hashtag for the event is #IAS2010 – scientists and teachers, if you are on twitter, please use the hashtag if you are tweeting about the event, then people can find all the comments together. We are having a … Continue reading