Category Archives: Winner Reports

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…

What Daryl Jones did with his prize money…

Daryl was voted the winner of the Drug Development Zone in 2014. Here is what he did with his £500 prize money…

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

 


Asking for help during one of my talks. Lots of enthusiastic volunteers!

I gave some science talks at a local church here in Florida.  It was all ages from 5 to 11.  I used the RoboRoach and Human-Human Interface kits  and had some kids up on stage to demonstrate, and I did a quiz at the end.  We used two RoboRoach kits and raced cockroaches!!! It was fun.  I’ve had another request to do the same at a local school (however the RoboRoach kits only have 3 uses each so it’s starting to get expensive!!) I also bought neuroscience kits at the Society for Neuroscience. One is a kit that allows you to do “brain surgery” on cockroaches and then control their movements with your iPhone! Very cool and the children love it.

Posted on August 9, 2017 modantony in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Daryl Jones did with his prize money…

What Euan Allen did with his prize money…

Euan was voted the winner of Lead Zone by students in June 2016. He got straight to work using his £500 prize money and here reports back on what he was able to do over this last year.

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


After winning I’m a Scientist, I wanted to make sure I maximised the impact of the prize money that I had just been given. After a bit of thought, I decided that the best way for me to use the money was to help train some new PhD students that had recently joined the Quantum Engineering Centre for Doctoral Training (QECDT) that I am a part of, and work with them to put together a stall to present at the Festival of Nature — a natural science festival in Bristol organised by the Bristol Natural History Consortium each June.

After some training provided by the University of Bristol’s Centre for Public Engagement, the students and I set about planning a couple a demonstrations and ordering test items to begin construction of the stands. The first of the developed demos was to explain how a ‘Morpho Blue’ butterfly generated the fantastic blue colour of its wings via the tiny (nanoscale!) structures that it has evolved on its wings. This was done by looking at the structure of the wing using a USB microscope and also by comparing the wing to other iridescent items, including plants and peacock feathers.

The ‘Morpho Blue’ butterfly demonstration, including butterfly wings, a microscope, peacock feathers and iridescent shells and plants.

The second demonstration was to show the strange natural phenomenon of wave-particle duality, a feature of fundamental physics where some things can act as both a wave and a particle. This was done using a tank of silicon oil that was placed on top of a speaker that was oscillating at a particular frequency. This allowed us to produce droplets on the surface (see the image) that looked like particles but would sometimes act like waves.

The oil drop ‘particles’ generated as part of the demonstration. The particles form a triangular lattice because of the interaction of the waves generated in the oil bath below.

After the stand was completed and all set, it was time to take the demonstrations to the Festival of Nature. The festival this year saw over 8000 people come down to Bristol’s harbour side to see stands and demonstrations covering all of nature. Presenting at the festival were ourselves, the BBC, Bristol Zoo, the University of Bristol and UWE, and many more institutions and charities. The students spent two days talking visitors through the two demonstrations we had developed as they came and visited the tent we had set up in. We also had students providing outreach ‘on-the-go’ with the busking demos that we had put together using the prize money.

Ross of the QECDT demonstrating a standing wave – one of the busking demonstrations bought for the Festival of Nature.

Overall the weekend went really great and we had lots of good feedback from visitors to our stand, and even coverage from the BBC. The students learnt a lot from the experience and some have gone on to be involved with other outreach activities in the department. Parts of the demonstration have also been taken to the Royal Society Summer Exhibition and have been made available to those within the group to use of further outreach activities. I’d like to thank all of the Quantum Engineering students for the effort they put in over the very warm weekend and the team at the Centre for Public Engagement for the support they provided.

 

TOP Euan talking to the BBC about the stand from the Quantum Engineering Centre for Doctoral Training. BOTTOM Part of the team at the festival next to our stand (L to R): Joao, Giorgos, Rachel, George, Jorge, and Ross.

Posted on July 26, 2017 modantony in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Euan Allen did with his prize money…

What Andrew Swale did with his prize money

Andrew won the Blood Zone of I’m a Scientist Get Me Out of Here in June 2013.

He donated his £500 winnings to the Liverpool World Museum to facilitate setting-up the Magical World of Science, a one-off science-based workshop for the general public.

Andrew Swale

Me and some workshop attendees on the day

Posted on June 8, 2017 modantony in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Andrew Swale did with his prize money

What Phil Wilkinson did with his prize money

Phil was voted the winner of Digital Zone in March 2013. Here he reports back on how his £500 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


Hello! I am Phil, I participated in the Digital Zone back in March 2013. On I’m A Scientist I was frequently asked what my typical day was. Well my typical day during the event was something like this. Wake up. Grab coffee. Open I’m A Scientist, look through dozen or so newly asked questions. Stress over inability to answer them all. Answer questions: “When will the sun explode?” & “How many KFC Bargain Buckets will it take to get to the moon?”. More questions are asked. Open chat. Enter 30 excitable students. Intensely focus and furiously type. Have the validity of my research questioned and sense of humour challenged. Students leave to a chorus of well-wishing ad promises of votes. Be called a ‘lad’. Exit chat. Check new questions. Repeat throughout day.

Phil wilkinson

Me and the Game Makers club team

Now, my days involve working with students in school to help them make their own digital games in a Game Makers club. These game are different as they are designed with a specific social issue in mind. They tap into the growing trend for developing Games for Social Change – games that raise awareness of and tack problems in society. This work is being support by the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy. The money that I was awarded though the I’m A Scientist competition has been used in support of this club, including the purchasing of equipment and software licenses.

Regarding specific software, I purchased a license for Game Maker at £80 and an Oculus Rift Developers Kit 2 at £350 to show off the possibilities of VR! The rest has been sunk into ongoing travel expenses – not particularly exciting of course!

Posted on June 8, 2017 modantony in RCUKWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Phil Wilkinson did with his prize money

What James Holloway did with his prize money…

James won the Wellcome Trust-funded Palladium Zone in March 2013. He used his prize money to fund visits to local primary schools to engage the students with science through hands on experiments, showing them how interesting and fun physics can be.

James’ experiments included Magic Sand and NeverWet Spray to demonstrate hydrophobic behaviour and Pyrex submerged in cooking oil to demonstrate the effect of a refractive index on the behaviour of light. As well as playing with the experiments, Westfield Primary School held an afternoon question and answer session for James to talk to the students about being a scientist.

James also took part in the Diamond Light Source open day, bringing his experiments to the general public.

Posted on June 1, 2017 modantony in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What James Holloway did with his prize money…

What Ashley Cadby did with his prize money…

Ashley was voted the winner of Molybdenum Zone in 2012. in 2015, Ashley spent his prize winnings commissioning artists to develop artwork which interpret scientific research being done at Sheffield University.

The pieces were shown at the Krebs Festival in Sheffield. Ashley is continuing the project and is still in talks with artists for future collaborations and projects, working out ways of getting the artwork more visible to the general public.

The gallery at Krebs Fest 2015

 

Posted on May 31, 2017 modantony in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Ashley Cadby did with his prize money…

What Jennifer Stephens did with her prize money…

Jennifer was voted the winner of Agriculture Zone by students in 2014. Here she tells us what she got up to with her £500 prize money.

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


After winning I’m a Scientist I became a STEM Ambassador and started the Sciphun.com website to promote science subjects to young people with differnet resources. Some key tools that I have used in teaching are free science apps that appeal to kids of all ages as they are a fun way to learn. There is a wide range of apps to help understand biology, chemistry, physics, environment, space and there are even apps for pre-schoolers.

3D Cell app

On the site. there are also science experiments that can be set up at home and these have been tested by some of our work experience students.

Megan, one of our work experience students, doing the chromatography experiment using felt tip pens.

Scientists’ work is very diverse and there are lots of different careers students can go into. The Scientist Profiles on the website give an in depth look at some of these. Even in the area of Agriculture there are varied careers that students can go into if they want to help feed the world!

These profiles show students what it’s like to be different scientists

The prize money went towards creating and hosting the Sciphun website. I also spent money on flyers and T Shirts with Sciphun printed on them to give away as prizes for competitions on the site.

Since winning I’m A Scientist I have also been invited to speak at schools and Career Conventions to promote science subjects. Every year I give tours to over a hundred students and visitors that visit my lab and greenhouse. Young people are fascinated by science once they are exposed to it close up, and we need to keep that spark alive.

Posted on May 24, 2017 modantony in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Jennifer Stephens did with her prize money…

What Nicholas Pearce did with his prize money…

Nicholas was voted the winner of Rhenium Zone in 2015. Here he reports back on how he used his £500 prize money for his own public engagement activities.

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


Since the I’m a Scientist competition is all about interacting with students, I was sure I wanted to visit schools and show these students first-hand what it’s like to be a scientist. I decided to go for what I knew best and show off some chemical reactions in front of a live audience.

My first opportunity to do this was at Nottingham’s Festival of Science and Curiosity – a week-long celebration of all kinds of science in February, where I put on two chemistry shows for families that attended.

Future scientists help me to make a glowstick.

The show started with chemical traffic lights – a reaction of a sugar solution that slowly changes colour from green to red to yellow but can then be shaken up to turn green again. Volunteers were then called for (lots of hands went up!) and with their help, we made a bright blue glowstick from mixing chemicals as they flowed down a clear plastic tube into a beaker.

It’s not magic, it’s science 😀

I then poured the contents of this beaker into a new tube and the light changed colour from blue to neon yellow. “It’s magic!” was called from the audience (my favourite comment of the day) so I saw a chance to explain some of the chemistry responsible (it’s not magic, it’s science). The show also contained some smells, pops and bangs, finishing with an explosion from a dry ice powered cannon.

I really enjoyed doing the show at the fair: seeing and hearing the audience’s reactions and knowing it meant people were excited about science felt like a great achievement! Afterwards, one of the parents in the audience asked if I would be interested in doing the show again at a local school, to which I hastily agreed.

A couple of months later I travelled to Awsworth Primary School for a repeat performance that happened to coincide with the March for Science day. This time the audience was much bigger, with the whole school turning up to watch one of two shows. It was fantastic being able to deliver a ‘potions’ lesson to a sea of pupils and explain to them what being a scientist is like. After hearing about the first show I did earlier in the year, one of my co-workers from the lab was keen to help with this performance, so I’ve been able to get even more real scientists involved in communication and outreach through I’m a Scientist. We were also featured on their school blog.

 

I’ve had a lot fun doing these shows and think they’ve been really effective at spreading the message that science is worthwhile, interesting and something that everyone can enjoy. Thank you to everyone in the I’m a Scientist team as well as to the funders for making it all happen. I’m sure I’ll be doing even more of these demos in the future!

Posted on May 18, 2017 modantony in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Nicholas Pearce did with his prize money…

What Bob Bonwick did with his prize money…

Bob was voted the winner of the Organs Zone in 2012. Since then he’s used his prize money to support his outreach efforts and here he tells us more about what he’s been up to.

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


Since winning my zone in this program, I have upped my commitment as a STEM Ambassador.  To this end I have spent time in developing my visual aids which I have used not only in my STEM work but also internally when teaching as well as external outreach event.

I have spent many hours taking images of tissues with many different stains demonstrating their diagnostic utility as well as explaining my profession to people.  The prize money has helped me to go from the rudimentary print outs to A3 foam boards with high quality images on them to make my explanations easier to many different groups and levels.

I have also been to a number of schools careers events that would have otherwise been difficult for me to attend.  This has also used the foam boards as well as other visual aids and anatomical models I have bought with the prize money.

More recently I held workshops at the Cheltenham Science Festival fringe event held by the NHS trust I work for in Cheltenham.  I delivered the same workshops 4 times on two consecutive days, with a number of colleagues helping.  The workshops were entitled ‘who are you calling normal’ where we went through a number of physiological measurements to demonstrate that normal is a range, when we understand the normal range we can spot the abnormal.

I have now moved to a new hospital where in addition to clinical practice I am also an associate lecturer at the University of Bangor.  I still use one set of the foam boards in my outreach here and the other set remains with my old department who continue to use them in public engagement events and STEM talks.

I continue to use my experience taking part in the’ I’m a Scientist…’ program in my daily life and encourage more of my colleagues to participate in the program.

Posted on April 24, 2017 modantony in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Bob Bonwick did with his prize money…

What Emily Robinson did with her prize money…

Emily was voted the winner of Copper Zone in 2011. She used her prize money to support Bright Club  Manchester , a comedy night where researchers, from all fields and backgrounds, take to the stage to perform short stand-up comedy routines about their work.

Bright Club attracts an adult audience that might not be interested in a lecture but will find that there is something they can take away from the diverse body of knowledge they are exposed to over the course of an evening. The Bright Club (www.brightclub.org/) concept started at UCL in London, with Manchester being the first off-shoot, but it has since turned up in many cities across the UK and even made it to Australia.

After plucking up the courage to do a comedy set about her own PhD research, Emily enjoyed the experience so much she joined the organising team. In her spare time she helped to organise Bright Club Manchester events and supports researchers, who may have no experience of doing stand-up comedy, by providing training and advice.

Emily says “*performing was a great experience! As an organiser I
relished the opportunity to help others share their research with a wider
audience.”*

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

Posted on April 17, 2017 modantony in WellcomeWinner, Winner Reports | Comments Off on What Emily Robinson did with her prize money…