Category Archives: Zone Reports

Animal Behaviour Zone Report – March 2017

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The Animal Behaviour Zone was a themed zone funded by The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB). Rupert is a lecturer teaching animal behaviour and studying why birds sing, Ines is an ecologist studying how a particular species of fish is being affected by its environment and Ellen is a PhD student looking at how elephants interact with each other. Cedric is a conservation biologist looking at the behaviour of the Malaysian clouded leopard and Carrie, the winner of the zone, is a senior lecturer teaching animal behaviour and welfare.

The Animal Behaviour Zone was one of the busiest zones in March’s event, with a higher than average number of questions asked, comments and lines of live chat. All five scientists were active within the ASK section and live chats, between them providing over 1,200 answers.

The zone theme was very popular, with students interested in the facts and the science behind animal behaviour as well as the day to day work of the scientists. The topic as a whole was clearly easily understood and highly engaging for the students.

Posted on April 7, 2017 modmichaela in 2017, ASAB, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Decision Zone Report – March 2017

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The Decision Zone was a themed psychology zone funded by The British Psychological Society. Wil is a PhD student looking at emotions in language and bilingualism, Mary is a psychology lecturer studying how our senses work together to perceive the world and James, the winner of the zone, is a Strategist and Consumer Psychologist who advises brands how their design can influence consumers’ decision making. Diana is an Emeritus Professor studying how people weigh up evidence to make important decisions and Andy is a lecturer looking at how people can lose control, leading to drunkenness and eating bad foods.

The Decision Zone centred on investigations into psychological research, and also involved three A-Level psychology classes. Some students seemed unsure what psychology was, and the psychologists were all good at explaining their research areas, as well as a more broad definition of psychology, in clear and relatable terms.

Posted on April 7, 2017 modmichaela in 2017, BPS, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Enquiry Zone Report – March 2017

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The Enquiry Zone was funded by Wellcome. It was a general science zone for primary schools focusing on the development of a citizen science project. The scientists involved each suggested a research idea which they refined with the students in the live chats and ASK section and students then voted for the project they would most like to carry out at their school. With the help of the winning scientist, schools will carry out the research in June 2017, recording and sharing their results using the nQuire-it online platform developed by the Open University.

Sallie, the winner of this zone, is a neuropsychologist who suggested an experiment looking at whether what you know about people before you meet them influences how attractive you think they are. Cathal specialises in diagnosing heart problems and his project idea was for students to develop an application that checks the pulse, to help detect whether someone needs first aid. Jade is an analytical scientist, who wanted students to test whether there’s a link between how much air you can breathe and how far you can shoot a blow dart. Hannah is an ecological researcher, whose idea was for students to pick an animal and study its behaviour, and Anthony is a conservation biologist who wanted students to study birds in their school and find out what they like to eat.

Posted on April 7, 2017 modmichaela in 2017, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Medical Physics Zone Report – March 2017

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The Medical Physics Zone was a themed zone funded by The Institute of Physics and The Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine. Sarah is a trainee medical physicist specialising in radiotherapy physics, Mohan is a clinical scientist helping put radioactive drugs inside patients for diagnosis and treatment and Jen is also a clinical scientist who focuses on processing images of patients who have taken radioactive drugs. Dan, the winner of the zone, is a postdoctoral researcher using sound waves to detect diseases like cancer and Christopher is a PhD student looking at how to design more advanced MRI scanners.

Students connected with the topic and discussed some of the issues rising from using the technology needed in medical physics. There were some personal conversations on how medical physics relates to cancer and cancer patients, including members of the students or scientists’ families. Students were also curious about the career path the scientists followed, some of the decision making behind it and the nature of their current professions.

Posted on April 7, 2017 modmichaela in 2017, IOP, IPEM, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Organs Zone Report – March 2017

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The Organs Zone was a themed zone funded by Wellcome. Nicholas is a PhD student looking at the changes in the DNA that causes liver cancer by growing mini-organs in the lab, Natalie is a neuroscientist looking at how brain cells connect to each other and Marta is a postdoctoral researcher using a computer model of the heart to understand heart disease. Devon is a PhD student looking at proteins in the kidney to understand how they are important to healthy kidneys and Craig, the winner of the Organs Zone, is a PhD student studying how the immune system fights viruses.

The scientists were all enthusiastic and met the questions in the chats and in the ASK section with interest even when they were outside of their own subject areas. The chats were lively and enjoyable, with all the scientists sharing a good rapport with one another and with the students.

Posted on April 7, 2017 modmichaela in 2017, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Space Exploration Zone Report – March 2017

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The Space Exploration Zone was a themed zone funded by the UK Space Agency. Stephen is a Principal Mechanical Architect designing, manufacturing and testing spacecraft such as the Mars Rover, Rochelle is a medical doctor who monitors the physiology of people doing space missions and working in microgravity and Phil is studying planetary rings using computer models. Lucy is a PhD student creating models of Martian geological processes to help determine what the climate was like in the past and Hannah, the winner of the zone, is a PhD student looking at ways to get water and oxygen from the Moon to help humans to live there in the future.

The Space Exploration Zone was incredibly on topic, with students showing a real curiosity about the theme and wanting to know about a huge variety of space-related areas. They also showed a genuine interest in the scientists’ own research areas, engaging well in chats and asking specific questions. Off topic questions focussed on career paths and working as a scientist, with very few unrelated to theme or the scientists in some way.

Posted on April 7, 2017 modmichaela in 2017, UKSA, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Francium Zone Report – March 2017

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The Francium Zone was a general science zone funded by Wellcome. Sandra is a molecular biologist working on making new proteins to help track cancer cells and Lewis, the winner of the zone, is a PhD student studying materials that absorb light and how this can be converted to electricity. James is a geophysicist that uses sound recordings to find layers in the Earth that are likely to contain oil, Humayra is a gastrointestinal scientist working for the NHS and Dakshat is a PhD student studying how men from different ethnic backgrounds age.

The questions in the ASK section covered all the topics the scientists work in, and many others on top. Live chats were mostly fast-paced with questions on lots of different topics. Lewis answered nearly 50% of all the questions in ASK and together with Sandra, wrote nearly 90% of all the live chat lines.

Posted on April 7, 2017 modmichaela in 2017, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Radium Zone Report – March 2017

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The Radium Zone was a general science zone funded by Wellcome, specifically for Primary Schools. Sha is a PhD student looking at ageing in plants, Olivia is a PhD student studying how to make wastewater from households useful again and Marco is a PhD student looking at how to protect the lungs from the radiation used to treat lung cancer. Amanda is a biological scientist studying how we can use cells to repair the body when it is damaged and Alex, the winner of zone, is a PhD student looking at how birds use energy to fly.

The Radium Zone was a busy zone with the highest number of questions in the ASK section and of votes in March’s I’m a Scientist. The scientists in the zone were mainly PhD students or early career researchers and the questions often related to the scientist’s interests and work. For example, students asked Alex a lot of questions about birds and Amanda about cells. There were also many general questions which tended to focus on the body, natural world and observable phenomena, with a few direct, more personal questions to the scientists.

Posted on April 7, 2017 modmichaela in 2017, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

CHRISTMAS LECTURES 2016 Zone Report

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The CHRISTMAS LECTURES Zone of I’m a Scientist was funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation. The online event allowed school students, the viewing public and Lectures attendees to continue the conversation about the Royal Institution’s CHRISTMAS LECTURES, ‘Supercharged: Fuelling the future’ and its theme of energy. The 24 experts online included the Lectures host Saiful Islam and members of his university department, as well as PhD students studying solar cells, members of the Lectures production team, human metabolism researchers, and engineers from energy companies.

Attendees at the filming of the Lectures could submit written questions to the site using question cards and have answers from experts emailed to them. This proved popular and 195 questions about energy and the Lectures were sent in by the audience. Members of the viewing public submitted 52 questions to the site on similar topics, most anonymously. The school students taking part were similarly on topic in live chats with experts and in the ASK section. Overall the Zone was focused around the future of energy, the Lectures themselves, the work of each expert and advice for a science career.

Posted on March 13, 2017 modantony in 2016, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Radon Zone Report – November 2016

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The Radon Zone as a general zone specifically for Primary schools and was funded by Wellcome. Réka (the winner of this zone) studies genetics to find out how our DNA makes us look like our relatives, Pip is a paediatrics doctor and Kuntal is studying how climate change will affect crop growth to improve ways of growing rice. Kate is a medical physicist who uses x-rays to treat cancer and Ajay studies how skin changes throughout our life in order to learn more about diseases like skin cancer.

The Radon Zone was extremely busy, with over 3,000 questions asked – the most out of all the zones in this event and over four times the historic average. In the ASK section, the scientists provided an extremely high number of answers (777), and students left a much higher than average number of comments in reply (191). Réka made up over half of all scientist activity in both ASK and the live chats, and attended every chat session.

Posted on December 13, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Polonium Zone Report – November 2016

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The Polonium Zone was a general science zone funded by Wellcome. Peter is a PhD student studying black holes, Miranda, who was the winner of this zone, researches bumblebees and writes computer programs modelling possible future extinction events and Lucy works in muscle metabolism researching whether a particular vitamin makes our muscles healthier. Jack is a doctor who is trying to identify which medical tests and treatments don’t work and Huma is a research fellow using the Turing test to find out if humans can tell whether they are talking to another human or a robot.

This zone was one of the busiest in this event, with a higher than average number of questions asked from students, and answers by scientists. Peter was particularly active in the ASK section. Live chats were also very busy, with a high total number of live chat lines, over half of which were made up by zone winner Miranda.

Posted on December 13, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Astatine Zone Report – November 2016

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This is a general science zone funded by Wellcome, involving five scientists working in a variety of areas. Sam is a radiation scientist who looks at how to keep people safe if there was an accident involving radiation, Ellie investigates causes of diseases such as heart attacks and Darren, who was the winner of this zone, researches human consciousness and is currently working on how to get robots to have a sense of time. Catherine works in a blood transfusion laboratory providing blood products to hospitals and Andres is a PhD student studying the connections between neutrinos and dark matter.
Students engaged well with the scientists’ individual research areas, resulting in diverse live chats and interesting conversations between scientists and students.

Posted on December 13, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Sports Science Zone Report – November 2016

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The Sports Science Zone was a themed zone funded by The Physiological Society, and included four scientists and three professional athletes.  Laura-Anne, the winner of the zone, researches how our muscles work in order to help people faster and stronger, Katy studies the body temperature of athletes with a spinal cord injury to help keep them cool during exercise, Helen is working on ways to stop athletes getting sick before a competition and Dan is a former Paralympian who is now a lecturer in exercise physiology.

We recruited three athletes to take part in the zone. Stephanie is a Paralympic swimmer who won five medals in Rio 2016, Emilia is currently training for sprint canoeing hoping to make the team for Tokyo 2020 and Andrew is an Olympic swimmer who also competed in Rio 2016.

Posted on December 13, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, Physiological Society, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Plants Zone Report – November 2016

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The Plants Zone was a themed zone funded by Wellcome. Zarah, who was the winner in this zone, is an invasion ecologist who studies alien plants and how they can affect native plants in the UK, Kon is a PhD student teaching bacteria how to find and eat sugars from plants and Kirsten is researching why vegetables are good for us. Jena is an archaeologist who studies how people used plants in the past and Freddie is researching how to use molecules to make plants grow bigger and healthier.

All of the scientists were active within the ASK sections and live chats. Jena provided just under half of all 243 answers from the scientists, and between them Zarah and Kon made up over half of all live chat lines by scientists.

Posted on December 13, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Energy Zone Report – November 2016

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This zone was a themed zone funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry, of which Olivia, Mzamo and Megan were members. Weiyi is a PhD student researching biofuels, Olivia is researching materials that can be used for more sustainable energy sources, Ola is looking at ways to save more energy, food and water and Mzamo is a lecturer in bio-renewable energy and based in South Africa. Megan, who was the winner of this zone, researches how waste uranium could help carry out reactions and reduce waste from nuclear energy.

Megan and Ola were particularly engaging within the live chats, both showing up to almost all sessions. Within the chats and ASK there were some fairly serious discussions on topics such as global warming and nuclear power with students showing a lot of interest in how scientists are working to save energy in the future.

Posted on December 13, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, RSC, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Investigation Zone Report – November 2016

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This zone was funded by Wellcome and is a general science zone for Primary Schools, which focusses on how scientists work. People doing scientific research need to use a range of investigative skills, many of which are used in science lessons at school. The five scientists in this zone use identifying, observation, classifying, testing or pattern spotting skills in their research. We hoped that from talking to the scientists, students would be able to find out the similar things they do in school that the scientists do in their jobs.

Sophie (identifying) studies animal behaviour to try and understand how humans are changing the natural environment, Sarah (observation) works on radiation protection and Michael (classifying) is an archaeologist who looks at bones to learn about how people lived ten thousand years ago. Marisol (testing) looks at a parasite of dogs to try and prevent it spreading to other species and Lauren (pattern spotting) researches how storms are changing our coastline. Lauren was the winner of this zone.

Posted on December 13, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Drug Discovery Zone Report – November 2016

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This was a themed zone funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry, of which Steve, Hannah and Eleni were members. Steve, the winner of the zone, is a PhD student making new anti-cancer drugs from sugars, Oli studies bacteria which can become resistant to viruses in order to use them in replace of antibiotics and Jenny develops drugs for diseases like cancer and diabetes. Hannah makes drugs for the parasitic tropical disease leishmaniasis and Eleni is a PhD student finding antibiotics from rare sources like fungus growing ants.

All of the scientists in the zone were engaging and provided detailed and accessible answers, with Steve and Hannah making up well over half of all answers and lines of live chat.

Posted on December 13, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, RSC, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Brain Zone Report – November 2016

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The Brain Zone was a themed zone funded by Wellcome. Ria is researching why some people get dementia while others don’t, Rachel is a neuroscientist who studies human brain tissue to help find a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and Joe, the winner of this zone, is looking at how children’s brains work and why some find school more difficult than others. Iroise studies the brain and behaviour of adults and adolescents and Adrian is researching ‘brain-eating’ bacteria to help combat infectious diseases.

All the scientists in this zone were active in both the live chats and ASK section with lots of interest from the students about the zone theme. There were lots of lively, on-topic discussions about the scientists’ research and the brain in general, with students often commenting about how much they had learnt.

Posted on December 13, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Bismuth Zone Report – June 2016

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The Bismuth Zone was a general science zone funded by the Wellcome Trust, and included five scientists working in different areas. Thomas works in Nuclear Medicine and uses radioactive substances to look at how our bodies work, Rupesh is a research fellow who studies why plant roots grow down and shoots always grow up, Hazel works as an Application Scientist at an engineering company which makes microscopes, Elliot makes mutants to try and work out why our muscles grow when we use them, and Ellen specialises in designing and analysing shielding against gamma radiation.

The scientists in this zone were very engaging and good at communicating their work with their students, particularly Thomas and Elliot, who took part in most of the live chats and answered a large amount of questions.

Posted on July 15, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Lead Zone Report – June 2016

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This zone was a general science zone funded by the Wellcome Trust. Stuart works for the NHS and looks at the DNA of people in hospital to work out why they are ill, Rob is a Teaching Fellow who uses maths to investigate how cells work, Maheen is a PhD student who uses brain imaging to understand how babies brains develop, Euan works with lasers and is trying to build a quantum computer from particles of light, and Deborah analyses food samples to see if they are genuine or counterfeit. The zone had a higher than average number of questions approved and the highest number of comments compared to all the other zones in June’s event

Posted on July 15, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment