Category Archives: Winner Reports

What Duncan McNicholl did with his prize money…

Duncan was voted the winner of the Uranium Zone in November 2017. Here he reports on using the £500 prize money to fund a new podcast about medical research, Not Exactly Rocket Science.

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


Winning I’m a Scientist came with two immediate thoughts: “great, I won!”, and “oh no, now I have to make a podcast and I have no idea how to do that!”. I did some research and spent the money on recording equipment, hosting, and a cool domain name (notexactlyrocketscience.fm), then started to charm researchers into being interviewed for it.

The fan favourite ‘Best host impression of the thinking face emoji’ competition takes up the first 20 minutes of each episode.

It was pretty exciting when the first episode went live on the 1st of June, and it’s been really fun to learn so much about what people who work in my building are actually researching, and how that research gets done. Listen to all the episodes so far here.

As well as the podcast, I’ve been involved for about a year in another project called Circuits!, in which we’ve co-created teaching materials so that high school teachers can use our research to enthuse kids about science while they’re learning about light and sound.

I’m hoping to create a bit of a mashup at some point with an episode of the podcast all about Circuits!, answering questions from students who have used the tool. My experience in I’m a Scientist should be invaluable there.

Posted on August 15, 2018 modantony in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Leave a comment

What Laura Soul did with her prize money

Laura was voted the winner of the Rhodium Zone in March 2013.

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


I set up a website (Generate Science) for school students to post blogs about current science topics and developed resources to help train the students. I was unable to find teachers who felt they had the time available to be the test classes for the platform, and then I moved to the US for a postdoc position. I still hope to eventually work on getting the website running when I return to the UK, by focusing on a local school so that I can run training in person for the first trials. As this did not go as expected, I decided to donate the remaining half of my prize money to an organisation I knew would immediately be able to make good use of it for outreach purposes, and so in 2016 I donated £250 to the Cambridge Earth Sciences Museum Time Truck team.

Posted on August 1, 2018 modjen in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Leave a comment

What Dawn Lau did with her prize money

Dawn was voted the winner of the Thallium Zone in June 2016. Here she writes about using her £500 prize money to fund local community events called Fun Palaces at which she has run activities based around neuroscience.

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


My original plan was to create a webcomic about being a scientist, trying in particular to focus on being a woman of ethnic minority. I’d drawn up draft comics, scribbled ideas into a notebook, but I never got the time to actually finalise the comic or build the website. I decided to donate the money to Fun Palaces, which is an annual event popping up at several locations in the UK. A Fun Palace is held by the community, for the community. It should be free, local, inclusive, and an opportunity to create a mishmash of arts and science (and much more). £500 went straight to Fun Palaces which will help fund running workshops, travel, support for local Fun Palace groups, etc.

I’ve been involved in running activities at the Brockwell Lido Fun Palace for 3 years in a row from 2014, and it’s been a blast being able to learn from the experience each year. The first year, we created a big brain on a board and invited the community to write memories into the brain and many people were really excited to find out we were actually neuroscientists.

Since then we’ve also run activities like dye chromatography and making brain models and all of these have piqued interest from the community asking about what we do, what our research is on – which was great!

Since I’m a Scientist, I was also involved in running a public engagement event at the Science Museum, with Alzheimer’s Research UK in March 2018. We ran many activities for both children and adults, such as making a neuron, memory games, showed them slides of real human brain tissue, and a lab skills station where participants could try and dissect brains (actually fruit!) and practise pipetting and changing cell media.

Posted on August 1, 2018 modjen in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Leave a comment

What Jonny Hunter and Laura Finney did with their prize money…

Jonny was voted the winner of Antibiotics Zone in June 2016. Here he reports back on how he used his £500 prize money to support his outreach activities with fellow winner Laura from Catalysis Zone.

If you’d like the chance to win funding to develop your science outreach work, apply for I’m a Scientist at imascientist.org.uk/scientist-apply


I won my I’m a Scientist zone at the same time as another scientist from my centre (Laura Finney) and we decided to pool our money. After a number of discussions, we decided to stay close to home with our main activity. So, we ran a stall at “Science in the Park 2017” based at Wollaton Hall in Nottingham.

This was a free public event that brought together scientists from many different fields so they could engage with the general public and tell them why our research is so fantastic. As our common research topic covers photochemistry we decided to tell people about light. To this end, we devised a series of experiments that showed how light can be used to carry out chemistry. We even made a video about it and posted on The Conversation UK’s website (Laura used to work there)! Watch the video here: https://www.facebook.com/ConversationUK/videos/730334860468190/?hc_ref=ARRSrkcYdKNfRsga9rWbo85te2QGFSUSb4DPuErPPdkNMM0B5fRTiQGgg3Jn3t1A3rU)

We show you some cool chemistry tricks you can do with chemicals you probably have at home … all right in front of the Batman castle in Nottingham.

Gepostet von The Conversation UK am Samstag, 18. März 2017

Since then, the equipment we bought with the I’m a Scientist money has been used at a number of different events such as Pint of Science 2017 and Wonder.

Sir Martyn Poliakoff (of Periodic Videos) using the equipment in a public lecture at Wonder

I have not been idle either. Since I’m a Scientist, I have competed in FameLab 2017 – reaching the regional finals by talking about the science behind poo. More recently, I won 3rd prize for my Art in Science competition submission.

This. Photochemistry. Is an Art Attack.

I think that I’m a Scientist has benefited me greatly as gave me the unique opportunity to develop my communication skills online which have been very useful in my following endeavours. I am extremely grateful to the I’m a Scientist team for organising the event and to everyone who voted for me. I would recommend it to anyone in research – and have!

Posted on July 18, 2018 modantony in RSCWinner, Winner Reports | Leave a comment

What Alex Pool did with his prize money…

Alex was voted the winner of the Europium Zone in November 2014. Here he writes about donating his £500 prize money to the Barts Cancer Institute to train aspiring research scientists.

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


When I first entered I’m a Scientist I had already decided, if I won, that I would donate the money to the Barts Cancer Institute Science Training for Aspriring Research Scientists (BCI STARS). The STARS project is a scheme that everyone here at BCI is very proud of, and I wanted to do my small bit in supporting that. Having been asked by a lot of the children during the competition what I was planning to do with the money they all thought the scheme was brilliant and wished they had their own local version.

 From John Marshall – head of STARS programme the money was donated to…

BCI STARS- A programme to introduce school students to scientific research and to train PhD students in science communication.

In 2014, a group of Year 13 students from schools that historically had had relatively poor progression to university for their students, joined PhD students at Barts Cancer Institute, part of Queen Mary University of London, for the first Science Training for Aspiring Research Scientists (STARS) programme.  In small groups the students had a full-time one week tuition in basic cell and molecular biology techniques taught to them by PhD students. Thus students learned:

  • How to correctly use micro-pipettes and automatic pipette guns
  • Sterile tissue culture of cancer cells
  • Biochemical analysis of cancer cells using SDS-PAGE and western blotting
  • How to label biomarkers in cancer tissue using immunochemistry and analysis by microscopy
  • How to purify, analyse and clone DNA
  • How to run polymerase chain reactions (PCRs) of cheek cell DNA

Photo: BCI STARS

In addition the PhD students learned the type of language that is required to describe the scientific bases of techniques they use on a daily basis. The programme does cost money and for the first year we could not find any funding.  Thus I was thrilled when one of BCI’s PhD student’s, Alex Rhys, donated his £500 prize that he had won from I’m a Scientist, get me out of here which helped enormously to cover costs.

The experience of both the students and the PhD demonstrators (now referred to as DEMONS) was extremely positive and encouraged the continuation of the programme which now has had two dozen Year 12 students in both 2015 and 2016 and about 35 different PhD students participating. All the school students are identified by the charity ACCESS Work Placements who work directly with schools to give students a real work experience. A very exciting development is that two new STARS programmes, the Blizard STARS (also at Queen Mary University, run by Dr Cleo Bishop) and King’s STARS (at Kings College London, run by Professor Maddy Parsons) started in 2016 also with great success and we are keen for other institutions to develop their own STARS programmes. Thus Alex’s initial generous gift has helped make this happen and I remain extremely grateful to him for his generosity.

Photo: BCI STARS

All of those students from our first cohort who replied to our enquiries entered their first choice university. The courses included medicine, dentistry, physics, biomedical sciences and mining. STARS was a subject of discussion at the university interviews so we hope their experience helped in their success. Below are comments from several students taken directly from their feedback forms.  More information and photographs of our STARS programme can be found here. Contact me if you are interested in starting a programme at your university.

Students’ feedback on their experience of STARS

“ I hoped to gain more information on research science and also learn one of the basic skills needed to carry out the experiments, and this course has covered every expectation I had before starting”

“Speaking to the PhD students was really useful-treated me like an equal which helped me gain knowledge and confidence”

“I’ve thought research science was boring but after the programme I started to like research science as you get to work on your own projects and be independent and I’ve got to know that I actually like working in (a) laboratory”

“It made me realize that I can go to any university I like and I can do the course that I want to do”

“Whiteboard explanation sessions were really good and gave a sort of “school explanation”- a format we are used to and helped in understanding more”

 “Do you have any feedback on the teaching approaches used?” “Continue! Enjoyed every bit of it. I wish I could join again. Thank you.”

Posted on July 11, 2018 modem in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Alex Pool did with his prize money…

What Dave Farmer did with his prize money…

Dave was voted the winner of the Quantum Zone in June 2013. 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

I spent all of my prize money on video equipment. My original plan was to make a series of science communication videos, but unfortunately I came up against some obstacles and wasn’t able to make them happen.

So the equipment was used to film live public shows I put on, including a show at the NSEW Science in the Park event in March 2014. These videos have been distributed online. You can see the finale of one of them below.

Since winning I’m a Scientist, I worked as a Physics Outreach Officer at Royal Holloway University for two years, and even managed to get some of my academics to sign up for the event!

Posted on July 4, 2018 modem in IOPWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Dave Farmer did with his prize money…

What Lisa Simmons did with her prize money…

Lisa was voted the winner of the Extreme Temperature Zone in November 2014. 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

I used the money to fund a STEM club for the student society in The School of Engineering at Manchester Metropolitan University. We set up an activity called Electricks in association with STEMNet that delivered basic electronics skills to young people in years seven to nine. We also showed school teachers how to develop the activities to take back and integrate into their teaching. The project reached around 120 people.

Since this project, I now run Summer Schools in associated with the Engineering Development Trust.

Posted on July 4, 2018 modem in STFCWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Lisa Simmons did with her prize money…

What Hannah Sargeant did with her prize money

Hannah was voted the winner of the Space Exploration Zone in March 2017. Here she writes about using her £500 prize money to run workshops in schools and launch a space balloon.

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


Since winning the I’m a Scientist competition I did a lot of research into space balloons and how to launch them. I came across European Astrotech who deliver high altitude balloon programs for schools, and they were excited to get involved in a joint project. With added financial support from the LUVMI rover team we were able to work with a local school in Milton Keynes to deliver a couple of space themed sessions cumulating in a launch of a space balloon.

After bad weather hampered the first launch I spent a morning with year 5 looking at the scale of the Universe and wrapping our heads around just how far apart everything is. Once the weather cleared up we rescheduled the launch and an expert from European Astrotech delivered a talk to year 5 & 6 students on how science in space has affected our everyday lives. Then, we all launched our own science project into the edge of space with our space balloon.

Included on the balloon were two drawings from the winners of a space design competition. As the Astrotech team chased the balloon the students could track its progress along with the chase car. High definition videos from the launch have now been recovered and shared for everyone to enjoy the launch all over again.

I’ve always had a passion for outreach but the I’m a Scientist experience inspired me to challenge myself and try to organise something involving various experts to provide the most exciting experience for the students. I’m looking forward to working on future space balloon projects and collaborating with more experts to give further students a passion for space science and technology.

Posted on June 27, 2018 modantony in UKSAWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Hannah Sargeant did with her prize money

What Ryan Cheale did with his prize money…

Ryan was voted the winner of the Thulium Zone in June 2015.

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

Three years ago I had an idea for a small project to run at my institution – however they weren’t interested in helping. So I pushed the money into my local community by running science and maths sessions for children preparing for examinations. It was successful in that all 20 students saw 1-3 grade rise. I spent the money predominantly on travel and stationary for the kids.

Posted on June 27, 2018 modem in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Ryan Cheale did with his prize money…

What Zarah Pattison did with her prize money…

Zarah was voted the winner of the Plants Zone in November 2016. Here she writes about using her £500 prize money to run a Science Fair in the University of Stirling.

If you’d like 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


The I’m a Scientist competition was a fantastic experience. Talking to the students enabled me to gain a better perspective on how young adults perceive scientists, what they enjoy/hate about science and what might have been stopping them taking science further in their education.

This has been particularly important in terms of outreach events, in ensuring we are capturing those students who feel that science isn’t for them and trying to change their minds! I have been particularly determined to change the perception of female scientists to both boys and girls.

On March 17th we ran a Science Fair in the University of Stirling, aimed at students aged 5-15 years old. In total there were 35 volunteers on the day from multiple organisations within and out with the University of Stirling.

We collaborated with Forth Valley College science department, Stirling Library and IT department, Centre for Aquaculture in Stirling and multiple departments with the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Sports Science in the University of Stirling. The event featured a range of scientific activities.

Staff from Biological and Environmental Sciences department ran chemistry experiments, sessions on animal behaviour and a focus on conservation, with attractions including ‘seed bombs’, ‘bug hotel’ and ‘building a bat’. Children were also able to learn about renewable energy by building wind turbines.

A demonstration of 3D printing and scanning was hosted by Information Services staff; Aquaculture held a ‘What is it?’ quiz using scanning electron microscope images; Computing Sciences and Maths taught sustainable agriculture using Lego; and Sports Sciences explained heart monitoring, muscles and neurons. Staff from Forth Valley College held sessions on ‘life at microscopic level’, forensic; and ‘understanding your DNA’.

We had approximately 250 students attend the Science Fair which was an increase on our March 16th 2017 Science Fair of 150 attendees. I felt that this year’s Science Fair was a big advancement on our previous events. The main reason being that we were able to use the prize money to run competitions and enable volunteers to buy materials for their activities.

In each of the science book prizes each scientist wrote a message of encouragement in the cover. Our event even made it into the local paper which can only be a positive influence for the next event in March 2019.

I hope that the Science Fair become an integral part of the Natural Science Faculty outreach agenda and I will continue to run and organise this event in the future. I spent £250 on science books for competition prizes (I still have books for next year’s Science fair), £70 on poster printing for activity stalls, £55 for equipment (e.g. colouring pens, blue tack, sweets), £30 for subsistence for voluntary staff which included 1 water and a bag of crisps per person and £90 for stickers for completion of 4 activities at the fair.

Photography by Whyler Photos of Stirling
www.whylerphotos.com

Posted on June 7, 2018 modem in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Zarah Pattison did with her prize money…

What James Hickey did with his prize money…

James was voted the winner of the Tellurium Zone in November 2013. Here he writes about using his £500 prize money to produce outreach videos for volcano science.

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

So far I have used the money to produce outreach videos for volcano science. I have had very good feedback, and one of the videos is now featured on one of the University of Bristol science outreach webpages where it has reached approximately 500 people!

I spent the money on video equipment and am now developing an outreach website to host the videos on. I am now a lecturer at the University of Exeter and continue my outreach work as a Science Outreach Officer at Cornwall Sea to Stars.

 

Posted on May 2, 2018 modem in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What James Hickey did with his prize money…

What Laura-Anne Furlong did with her prize money…

Laura-Anne was voted the winner of Sports Science Zone in November 2016. Here she reports back on using her prize money to run activities for Biomechanics Day at Loughborough University.

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


On April 11th 2018, the biomechanists at Loughborough University welcomed 57 Year 10 students (24 females, 33 males) and their teachers to our labs as part of the now-worldwide Biomechanics Day 2018 : an international celebration and showcase of all things biomechanics. Students from the four Leicestershire-based schools participated in a morning or afternoon full of biomechanics-related activities.

Students participated in a range of activities where they learnt about reaction times in sport, measuring forces and movement during sporting tasks, taking live images of muscle and tendon working, and having a go at stretching and foam rolling like elite athletes. Students got an insight into the types of biomechanics projects currently running around the world in places like the Nike Sport Lab in the USA, skiing in Switzerland, cricket injury research at Loughborough, and how biomechanics is used in the English Institute of Sport.

This was then followed by a short careers talk from five lecturers in our research group (two females, three males), who each described their pathway into biomechanics, what is our real passion for trying to solve, why we enjoy our job, and what sort of things we each do. Particular positives from the day were that 87% of the students agreed the visit had shown them how varied this part of science was and 73% agreed they would be interested in learning more about this area of science. The day was full of smiles from the visiting students and teachers, undergraduate student ambassadors, and the Loughborough staff and students, which I think the photo captures brilliantly.

There’s much more to come! We have recently participated in our university-wide STEM day, and will host another 90 Year 10 students on May 29th as part of a university-wide HCOP event. I have been appointed the outreach co-ordinator for the School of Sport, Exercise, and Health Sciences at Loughborough University, and have been invited to present as part of workshops at the major conferences in biomechanics in Brisbane, Dublin and Auckland. I’ll be speaking about my I’m a Scientist and outreach experiences and how these could be applied elsewhere around the world.

The IASUK prize money is used to cover the costs of food, refreshments, and equipment for use on both previous and future large-scale outreach days, as well as developing posters which communicate our research and the area in language accessible to the general public. This work is also further supported by Loughborough University.

Posted on April 25, 2018 modantony in PhySocWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Laura-Anne Furlong did with her prize money…

What Philip Moriarty did with his prize money…

Philip was voted the winner of the Terbium Zone in March 2015. Here he writes about using his £500 prize money on developing the script and artwork for a nanotechnology-themed graphic novel, “Open Day”.

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


I initially said that I would spend the money as a contribution towards the development of a video game. Unfortunately, the games developer with whom I had initially scoped the game could no longer commit to the project (the video game project has instead been kick-started via a company in Bristol). The prize money was instead spent on developing the script and artwork for a nanotechnology-themed graphic novel, “Open Day”.

Written by Shey Hargreaves with art by Charli Vince, Open Day is a “warm-­‐hearted, funny, and bittersweet tale of ambition and overcoming the odds as much as it is an exploration of atomic manipulation and nanoparticles.” The novel is the result of a collaboration between Hargreaves, Vince, the Nanoscience Group at the University of Nottingham, and Professor Brigitte Nerlich (sociologist and emeritus professor at the University of Nottingham).

In addition to the funding from “I’m A Scientist”, “Open Day” is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council through a grant award, “Mechanochemistry at the Single Bond Limit: Towards Deterministic Epitaxy”. The entire proposal is available here. The funding was used to support visits of Charli Vince and Shey Hargreaves to the School of Physics and Astronomy, and for travel funding associated with the “Nottingham Does Comics” event.

It’s too soon to say how many people the project has reached but “Open Day” will be published later this year  and we would hope that the novel will have broad appeal. We will update with sales figures (and social media impact) when the novel has been published.

Above: where the story is set

Since winning the prize money, I have been heavily involved in outreach and public engagement both online (e.g. the Sixty Symbols, Numberphile, and Computerphile YouTube channels) and offline (“Pint of Science“, “Skeptics In The Pub“, “Café Scientifique“, “Science In The Park“, “Spring Into Science“). I have also written a popsci book on the deep and fundamental links between quantum physics and heavy metal, to be published by BenBella later this year.

See here, here and here for blog posts about the upcoming graphic novel.

 

Posted on April 11, 2018 modem in IOPWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Philip Moriarty did with his prize money…

What Thomas Clements did with his prize money…

Thomas was voted the winner of the Evolution Zone in March 2015. Here he writes about using his £500 prize money to create a mobile taphonomy experiment to take to schools (Taphonomy is the study of how organisms become fossilized).

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

I used the prize money to create a mobile taphonomy experiment to take to schools. Unfortunately this proved difficult to transport  and was too time-consuming to provide on-demand to schools, so I instead created some videos and used the remaining money to buy a tablet to show school students. I went to seven schools and reached around 300 students.

I then took the videos we made to three fossil festivals which had 1000+ footfalls each. I hope to make a YouTube series on it now I’ve finished my PhD! Since winning the prize money, I’ve been involved in lots more outreach activities, namely I’ve been active in multiple fossil festivals and STEM visits to schools.

Posted on April 4, 2018 modem in UniReadingWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Thomas Clements did with his prize money…

What Emma Osborne did with her prize money…

Emma was voted the winner of the Gravity Zone in March 2016. Here she writes about using her £500 prize money to set up a YouTube Channel, ‘The Extraordinary Universe’.

If you’d like 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


I used the prize money to buy equipment to set up my YouTube channel, which contains lots of videos about astrophysics and how the extraordinary universe works,  for example ‘What happens if you fall into a black hole? or ‘What is a pulsar?’.

Using this channel I have so far been able to reach 80,000 people. I spent £250 on a video camera, £50 on a microphone, £50 on lighting and £150 towards an iPad for editing and animation. I have also been using Instagram to support my YouTube channel, and that has been very popular (over 30k followers) which can be found here.

Using the equipment I bought with the prize money, I have been able to consistently produce content, as now the only costs I have are on my time. Since setting up my YouTube channel, I have had many fantastic opportunities come my way and I have even won an award for my science communication.

It all started with this competition, and for that I am eternally grateful! I have to say that everything I have achieved since taking part in this competition wouldn’t have been possible without the seed funding provided from the prize money. I have given many talks, demonstrated at science festival/events, use social media as an educational channel, interviewed on local and national television. More on what I’m up to next can be found on my website.

Posted on March 21, 2018 modem in STFCWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Emma Osborne did with her prize money…

What Joe Bathelt did with his prize money…

Joe was voted the winner of the Brain Zone in November 2016. Here he writes about using his £500 prize money to develop classroom resources about working memory.

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


As a neuroscientist working on brain development, I’m working with children a lot and am amazed by the kids’ willingness to sit through some often quite boring experiments or lie in the slightly intimidating brain scanner. Many of the children are curious to hear more about the science, but there is usually not enough time during the experiment to talk about these things in detail.

There are some very successful efforts to tell teachers and parents about our research, but there is hardly anything aimed directly at kids. I thought that children would like to hear about the interesting things that we find out about their minds and brains and that they could also benefit from some of the insights that we have gained from this.

This is part of the team posing with the working memory game.

With the help of my colleagues, I developed a school lesson to teach children between 7 and 11 years about working memory – that is our mind’s ability to store information for a short time and manipulate it. At the heart of the lesson is an interactive exploration, where children take the roles of a scientist and a participant. The scientist presents pictures of items on a board to the participant, then turns the board away and removes one of the items. The participant has to remember where the item was on the board and if it was edible or not.

Through this game and the other parts of the lesson, children can explore the concept of working memory, can develop awareness of working memory limitations, and can come up with strategies to manage their working memory in school and at home, and get an insight into cognitive psychology.

Part of the resources for the working memory activities. Download the resources

Getting these ideas into a suitable format for primary school was quite difficult, probably because we, as scientists, usually like wordy and complicated explanations that, understandably, do not hold the attention of a classroom of 7-year-olds. So, we tried the lesson at a local primary school, which helped us to improve the lesson a lot.

Now that the lesson plan is ready, we made it available online for teachers in the UK and around the world: Working Memory For Kids Lesson plan. We’re also aiming to take the working memory lesson on the road regularly to teach more children about our research.

This is me at a science demonstration at the Blue Dot Festival.

Thanks to the inspiration and encouragement that I gained by participating in I’m a Scientist, I also participated in other public engagement events to bring science to more kids. I put together a mini-version of the working memory game for a brain science stand at the Blue Dot Festival in July this year. I’ve also became a science mentor for Frontiers for Young Minds, a science journal for children.

Posted on December 20, 2017 modantony in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Joe Bathelt did with his prize money…

What Loren Gibson did with her prize money…

Loren won the Protein Zone in 2014. Here is what she did with her £500 prize money…

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

 


I decided, after some work with Science Oxford, that I would donate the money to them for use in their new project working with teaching children in schools about antibiotic resistance. This helped them with developing some free workshops around penicillin and antibiotic resistance to run in local state secondary schools.

They provided 10 schools with the workshops which included a practical activity about antibiotic specificity using agar plates, a game and a debate about antibiotic resistance. The game used fluffy bugs oversized petri dishes and puzzles to show how antibiotic resistance works. Furthermore, they are planning to give each teacher a resource pack with posters and follow up activities. Science Oxford said this is a massive help to them to provide money for the resources for this project.

Since taking part in I’m a Scientist, I have also represented the company I work for at a science fair, explaining what the company does to both children and adults. Furthermore, myself and a few of my colleagues showed Year 10 students around our labs and did an activity and quiz with them about what it is that we do on a day to day basis. We had some great feedback from both events and we really enjoyed it.

Posted on December 13, 2017 modantony in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Loren Gibson did with her prize money…

What Stuart Archer did with his prize money…

Stuart was the winner of the New Materials Zone in 2013 and spent his £500 prize money running workshops for around 50 students at local schools.

“I ran a workshop for local schools in Sheffield where the students made “dye-sensitised” solar cells from fruit juice. Blackberries, cherries and raspberries all have a useful dye in them that can be used to make the solar cells, so we compared and contrasted the three in teams. Prizes were available for the best team and best individual solar cell. Approximately £350 of the money went towards equipment and solar cell components. £100 went towards consumables for the workshops and the rest went on travel costs.

It all went very well, the students and the teachers were really happy with it and we will likely add it to our annual programme of outreach at Sheffield. We continue to deliver the workshops and have more planned for this year.”

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

Posted on December 6, 2017 modantony in STFCWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Stuart Archer did with his prize money…

What Megan Seymour did with her prize money…

Megan was voted the winner of the Energy Zone in November 2016. Here she reports back on how she used her £500 prize for her own science outreach project

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


As a final year chemistry PhD student at the University of Edinburgh I have taken full advantage of the opportunities I’ve had to engage school children and the wider public with research taking place at the University, and science in general.

Having lead school science workshops, organised science festival drop-ins, hosted student lab visits and volunteered at public open days I was keen to do something a little different with my prize money.

My idea came from doing a walking tour of the city, which opened my eyes to the fascinating history of science here in Edinburgh. I wanted to take the idea of a science themed walking tour, and inject a whole lot more fun by designing a city wide, month long, Science Treasure Hunt!

I spent countless weekends trawling the city for hidden scientific landmarks and narrowed my list down to 10. These points of interest included graves, statues and plaques commemorating famous scientists, exhibitions in museums and art galleries and geological formations in local parks. I wrote a little about the scientific and historical significance of each location, and for each one came up with a question which could only be solved by finding each clue.

The David Brewster Statue. But how many fingers is he missing? You’ll have to come and see him to and find out!

Science Treasure Hunt was designed and printed and ready to launch by mid September. On a public open day I coaxed visitors and passers-by into the School of Chemistry by making ice cream using liquid nitrogen and handed out over a hundred copies of the treasure hunt map and clues.

Making liquid nitrogen ice cream at the Edinburgh Doors Open Day and Science Treasure Hunt launch.

Entrants had one month to solve each clue and submit their final answers, as well as posting their all-important #ScienceSelfie to our twitter or Instagram pages for a chance to win a special bonus prize.

All correct entries were entered into a draw and three winners were chosen. An additional winner of the selfie competition was chosen and each winner received a certificate and a mini scientific microscope with instructions to conduct their own science experiments at home.

With the remaining money, an Edinburgh based illustrator and graphic designer have been commissioned to help design a second edition of the treasure hunt, to be run in the 2018 school Easter holidays. I am in discussions with the public engagement coordinator at the University and hope that the treasure hunt can be run as an annual event.

 

Posted on November 22, 2017 modantony in RSCWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Megan Seymour did with her prize money…

What Richard Prince did with his prize money…

Richard was voted the winner of the Pharmacology Zone in June 2015. Here he reports back on what he did with his £500 prize money…

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


I used the money to run a series of 8 x 1hr workshops at Calder High School in West Yorkshire. I was put in touch with one of the science teachers there, Nicola Boulton, by David Wilkinson of WYSTEM: as a first step after doing IAS, I did the STEM Ambassador training and went along to some of their networking events, and I’d suggest that as something that any future winners should do – It not only helps with forming links with schools, but also gives you a free DBS certificate and insurance cover for your activities.

We timed the workshops to coincide with British Science Week and ran them for a total of 150 students in years 9, 10, 11. I did the chilli workshop four times, doing the Scoville test on a range of chilli sauces with names like “Psycho Drops”, “Ultra Death” and “ Mad Dog 357”.

We also did some alcohol and water extractions of commercially available chilli flakes named “Hells Flakes”. We didn’t find the chilli sauces to be quite as hot as the manufacturers claimed, but that could well be because many of the students testing them were confirmed chilli-heads!

One of the meters the students used in workshops displaying my own (moderatley) high blood pressure reading!

In addition to the chilli workshop, we also ran a mock clinical trial to determine if caffeine is a performance enhancing drug, running this workshop four times. I think this was quite a valuable experience for the students because it showed them how a double-blind trial is conducted, and helped them understand the placebo effect.

It was also quite timely because caffeine is currently on the WADA watch-list and Maria Sharapova had just admitted testing positive for meldonium, a substance that had just moved from the watch list to the banned list.

We used heart rate and blood pressure monitors and did reaction time and cognitive tests before and after drinking either a double espresso or a decaffeinated double espresso. We didn’t find any strong evidence for performance enhancement, but we did establish that my coffee was the worst the students had ever tasted! I’d love to try and run these activities again with a different school in the future.

Posted on October 18, 2017 modantony in BritPharmSocWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Richard Prince did with his prize money…