Day One Gremlins

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

Posted on March 14, 2011 by in Event News | Comments Off on Day One Gremlins

Beyond Blogging event teaser

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? and Galaxy Zoo are great. Are there other areas where people could get involved in actually taking part in … Continue reading

Posted on October 1, 2010 by in Project News, Science Education, Science Engagement | Comments Off on Beyond Blogging event teaser

Who said scientists aren’t funny?

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

Posted on July 23, 2010 by in Event News | Comments Off on Who said scientists aren’t funny?

Students! Tell us what you thought about I’m a Scientist, and win a prize.

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 Thanks for your help!

Posted on July 19, 2010 by in Evaluation, Event News | Comments Off on Students! Tell us what you thought about I’m a Scientist, and win a prize.

Tell us what you want!

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: Thanks for telling us, we really appreciate it.

Posted on July 8, 2010 by in Project News | Comments Off on Tell us what you want!

A scientist gives us the lowdown on what it’s like behind the scenes…

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

Posted on June 23, 2010 by in Evaluation, Event News | Comments Off on A scientist gives us the lowdown on what it’s like behind the scenes…

FIFA delays kick off for IAS breaking eviction news

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

Posted on June 22, 2010 by in Event News | Comments Off on FIFA delays kick off for IAS breaking eviction news

So what do the scientists plan to do if they win?

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

Posted on June 21, 2010 by in Event News | Comments Off on So what do the scientists plan to do if they win?

Busy, busy, busy!

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, 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

Posted on March 18, 2010 by in Evaluation, Project News | Comments Off on Busy, busy, busy!


Welcome to I’m a Scientist, Get me out of Here! This is the only event in the world* where school students choose which scientists gets some money. For the next two weeks you young people have the power. Use it wisely my friends. *As far as we know

Posted on March 3, 2010 by in Project News | Comments Off on Welcome!

Latest event news: Schools chosen, scientists next week

We’ve now chosen the schools to take part in I’m a Scientist, Get me out of Here! March 2010. 70 teachers, in every setting from selective grammar schools to young offender institutions, will be logging on with their students and talking to real scientists. Then those students will be choosing which scientist gets a public engagement grant of £500.  Nothing engages young people like giving them some power. Choosing the schools has been agonising as we’d love to include everyone but we’ve been very over-subscribed with five classes wanting to take part for every space. We’ve tried to ensure a mix of types of school, types of class and school location. Many teachers wanted to take part with a whole year group (or two or three whole year groups in some cases!), which is great. We know from I’m a Councillor that getting the whole year group involved really adds … Continue reading

Posted on February 12, 2010 by in Event News, IAS Event | Comments Off on Latest event news: Schools chosen, scientists next week

Happy New Year and let’s get cracking on 2010!

And I hope all my fellow science geeks in the Northern hemisphere had a pleasant Winter Solstice. (Summer solstice wishes, of course, to our Antipodean readers). I am certainly relieved now the sun is coming back… And I hope you all had a great Christmas, Yalda, Saturnalia, Karachun, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, or other midwinter festival of your choice. 2010 so far… As you all know, this is going to be a big year for us, now that we have the funding to roll out I’m a Scientist on a much bigger scale. We’ve started the year with a lot of excitement, as we are recruiting a new member of staff to help us cope. I’ve been shortlisting all week (please, teachers, tell your students to never, ever, send someone a file called ‘My CV’. When you get dozens of them the renaming gets very tedious). It’s been really difficult choosing … Continue reading

Posted on January 6, 2010 by admin in Project News | Comments Off on Happy New Year and let’s get cracking on 2010!

The next phase begins – working towards running the event again, bigger, next year

The event evaluation report is now nearly finished. Sorry for a bit of a hiatus while we were running I’m a Councillor (just because we’ve got our new IAS baby, doesn’t mean we can neglect our first born:-)). We hope to get the evaluation report online some time next week (plus a summary – the whole thing is over 100 pages long. Even I don’t think anyone will want to read all of it, beautifully crafted prose though it is). The extremely short version is that everyone loved it and every single teacher and scientist who responded said they would recommend the event to a colleague. Even the teachers who got it dumped on them at the last minute loved it.           

Posted on November 24, 2008 by admin in Event News | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on The next phase begins – working towards running the event again, bigger, next year

Back to the grindstone…

Hi everyone, I’m back from holidays. Egypt and Jordan were great, Petra stunning, sun shining, people friendly. I am now extremely brown and have lots of exciting new stamps in my passport – which is the main point of going on holiday, isn’t it? Everything here has been continuing apace.

Posted on May 13, 2008 by admin in News | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Back to the grindstone…

I’m on holiday!

I’m off on holiday, any minute now. I know, it does seem odd, just a few weeks before the event, but we worked out it was the easiest part of the schedule for me to be off for. A lot of the hard work should be out of the way now. Anyway, I just wanted to make sure everybody knows I’m away, so doesn’t feel ignored if I don’t reply to emails. If it’s urgent contact Shane who’ll be looking after things. But otherwise, I promise I’ll get back to you on my return. Scientists interested in taking part should email me, or register via the scientist page, answering the following questions:- Does your work fall within the Wellcome remit (i.e. Biomedicine)? (We can have other scientists taking part, but the majority of our scientists need to be biomedical) Can you give me a two-sentence summary of what you work … Continue reading

Posted on April 25, 2008 by admin in News | Tagged , | Comments Off on I’m on holiday!