Category Archives: WellcomeWinner

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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…