Category Archives: Winner Reports

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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…

What Jonny Brooks-Bartlett did with his prize money…

Jonny was voted the winner of Lutetium Zone in June 2015. Here he reports back on the science outreach he was able to do using 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


In June 2015 I experienced one of the most hectic 2 weeks of my life: I’m A Scientist, Get Me Out Of Here. It was eye opening as well as exhausting but I loved every second. The early mornings and late nights answering the full spectrum of questions and being asked to think outside the box was very mentally stimulating. Winning it was such an amazing feeling!

I already knew what I wanted to do with the prize money: I wanted to have school students experience interdisciplinary research, to show them that sciences like physics, biology and chemistry aren’t as separate as they seem at school. I would do this whilst getting them to experience my field of research, X-ray crystallography.

To that end I teamed up with Professor Simon Coles and Lucy Mapp from the University of Southampton and last year we organised for a group of 9 AS chemistry students from Richard Taunton College to visit the University of Southampton for a day of crystallography. Throughout the day the students grew their own crystals of one of the biological building blocks, glycine. They experienced how difficult it is to manipulate a crystal and even mounted the crystals and fired X-rays at them to collect data.

Lucy (left) supervising a pupil trying to cut a crystal under a microscope

All of this was done with the additional aim of relating the content to the A-level chemistry syllabus. We have an additional 6 schools around the Southampton area that have expressed interest in visiting the University to do the same thing and we hope to secure more funding from the Royal Society of Chemistry to do more of these events.

Jonny giving a short talk about X-ray crystallography to the pupils

Not all of the money was spent on the crystallography day so we managed to do slightly more. The Oxfordshire Science Festival was held from 23rd June – 3rd July and over the weekend of the 25th and 26th I managed to team up with several academics to prepare a stand with lots of practical activities based around X-ray crystallography and Protein structure.

Our activities included growing protein crystals, making crystal structures with jelly babies and cocktail sticks, manipulating protein structures and learning how we can use the knowledge of the protein structure to fight against malaria.

We had people of all ages visit the stand but of all the activities, it was the jelly babies that went down the best. The kids loved making the structures (and then eating them) and we probably got through about 12kg of jelly babies over the weekend. It was incredibly fun.

Volunteers helping out at the science festival stand

A huge thanks has to go out to I’m A Scientist Get Me Out Of Here because they made all of this possible. I would also like to thank everyone else that has made this possible. It’s been such a great experience and I’m so glad to have had it.

Posted on September 6, 2017 modantony in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Jonny Brooks-Bartlett did with his prize money…

What Jess Bean did with her prize money…

Jess was voted the winner of Indium Zone in 2014. Here she tells us about the science outreach work she did using 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


Doing I’m a Scientist was a completely new experience for me, and I loved every moment of it. I really enjoy talking about science with anyone who will listen, so getting so many excellent questions from students all over the country was really fun and inspiring.

After winning my zone I wanted to use my prize money to do fun, hands-on science activities with kids in my local area. In 2015 I was put in contact with St Marks School in Bath, and we organised two after school workshops with Year 7 and 8 students. I used my prize money to buy all of the materials used during the workshops, plus some “giant microbe” toys (fluffy bacteria and viruses) used as prizes. I had not done much public engagement before, especially with younger students so this was a great opportunity to introduce them to some interesting and different science.

My research is on microbiology, so we did a range of experiments looking at the different types of bacteria that could be found in different parts of the classroom, as well as on other things such as our hands and mobile phones. We found some really interesting bacteria and fungi on all surfaces we tested, which had a wide variety of colours and shapes (including some especially furry and slimy ones!). We also looked at how hand washing affects the number of bacteria on your hands, by looking if bacteria grew after you had washed your hands with antibacterial gel.

Specifically, for myself this was also a great chance to collect some samples to take back to the lab and use for my own research. I work on a special kind of virus called a bacteriophage which is able to kill harmful bacteria, as an alternative to antibiotics. These viruses are mainly found outside in water and soil, and so we went around the local area and learnt how to collect samples of water (plus a few tadpoles) and soil using accurate scientific methods.

The next week, we analysed the bacterial plates that we had made earlier, but also did some extra chemistry experiments in the lab. We made bouncy balls out of borax and cornflour, we stained the bacteria found in natural yoghurt and looked at them under the microscope, used liquid nitrogen to freeze things to -198 °C and made erupting foam with hydrogen peroxide and washing-up liquid.

Overall, I hope everyone had an interesting afternoon, and that I could introduce them to some aspects of science that they wouldn’t otherwise have seen in school. I would love to do I’m a Scientist again, I think it’s a great way for kids (and teachers) to connect with science.

Posted on August 23, 2017 modantony in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Jess Bean did with her prize money…

What Sarah Tesh did with her prize money…

Sarah won the Extreme Clean Zone, funded by STFC, in November 2013. Sarah donated her prize money to Build Africa, who used it to support their Water and Food Access project which has ensured a clean and safe water supply for 28 schools across Uganda.

In 2013 a borehole was installed at Kimogoro Primary School, and Sarah’s donation went towards teaching a Water Committee how to maintain it. The committee have been supplied with maintenance kits and training, including simple book keeping, sanitation and hygiene, as well as the relevant skills to undertake any necessary repairs in the future. Abdriku, a member of the committee, said ‘The training was very helpful since we developed the rules and regulation on the use of our
school borehole. ‘ Read more about the skills training project at the school here.

School staff using the well

Stephen, one of the students at Kimogoro, spoke about the effect having the borehole has had on his school day; “I am happy since we have clean water at school for drinking and washing our hands. The water also ensures that we get food at school and this makes us stay at school and spend more time with our teachers. We also take porridge during break time and we enjoy it. The community always gives us room when we want to use the water.”

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

Posted on August 23, 2017 modantony in STFCWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Sarah Tesh did with her prize money…

What Allan Pang did with his prize money….

Allan was voted the winner of Yttrium Zone in June of 2012. Here he fills us in on how his £500 prize money was used.

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 donated the money to the Young Crystallographers Group of the British Crystallographic Association. They were involved in organising a 4 day event in Newcastle for the British Science Festival which took place in September 2013. The event was aimed at school children aged 16, and they ran three one hour long workshops per day.

The workshops were based around ‘The Structure of Stuff is Sweet,’ which was aimed at teaching school children about what crystallography is, and why it might be useful. As you can see from the name, they talked about the structure of sugar, build crystals out of marshmallows and explained the many different polymorphs of chocolate, and what we can learn from knowing the structures of these materials.

The money won from I’m a Scientist was used to fund these activities, covering the cost of the materials that needed to be purchased to explain the concepts of crystallography. Also, as this was a 4 day event in Newcastle, the money was used to cover the travel costs of many of the volunteers involved, as without them it would not be possible for the event to go ahead.


Find out more about The Young Crystallographers Group

 

Posted on August 16, 2017 modantony in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Allan Pang did with his prize money….

What Tom Lister did with his prize money…

Tom was voted the winner of Laser Zone in 2012. He donated the money to Ringwood Waldorf School Science department who planned to spend the money on apparatus such as heavy duty pulleys and ropes, spring balances, cantilever balances, masses and hangers, friction apparatus and Young’s Modulus apparatus.

Posted on August 10, 2017 modantony in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Tom Lister did with his prize money…

What Chris Blanford did with his prize money…

Chris was voted the winner of the Biochemistry Zone in March 2016.  Here he reports back on using his £500 prize money to fund science activity equipment  for local schools.

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 leveraged the prize funds towards a set of 50 ‘chocolate impact testers’. These testers are based on a rig developed at the University of Sheffield to help engage students using chocolate to investigate the physical property toughness.

The testers were part of the ‘Wonder Boxes’ put together by our local science museum, the Museum of Science and Industry. The rest of the sponsorship came from the the Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers, the University of Manchester’s School of Materials’ OFFA allocation, and Greater Manchester Higher funds. The funds from I’m a Scientist covered about 5 or 6 of the kits.

A chocolate tester in all its glory

Schools in Greater Manchester had to compete to be given the resource box for the academic year. The activities needed to be integrated with the curriculum, used with STEM Ambassadors, in extracurricular activities, as part of engagement with youth groups and parents, or in partnership with other schools, to increase STEM engagement and Science Capital.

All schools offered the kits have at least 20% Free School Meals, and the first 41 invited were the 25% most needy state-funded secondaries in Greater Manchester, identified by STEM Learning based upon such metrics as Attainment (lower achievement of A*-C), higher levels of free school meals, lower level of students progressing into further study of STEM subjects and other factors such as rural, limited employers in area, and poor OFSTED reports.

Me demonstrating how to use the chocolate tester rig with a variety of delicious samples.

Numbers-wise, at least 30 schools received the kits and we’re expecting them to use it at least three times in the first academic year – plus of course any interactions taking place in the exhibition, or under the aegis of the contributing outreach groups using it themselves.

Posted on August 9, 2017 modantony in BiochemWinner, RSCWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Chris Blanford did with his prize money…