Category Archives: Zone Reports

Drug Resistance Zone Report – June 2017

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The Drug Resistance Zone was a themed zone funded by Wellcome. Thom is a PhD student researching how bacteria produce drugs and how we can discover new ones, Sanjib is a course director in infectious diseases and also researches tuberculosis and Donna is a lecturer looking at how bacteria become resistant to antibiotics. Avril is an antimicrobial pharmacist and Abid is a microbiologist doctor who treats patients with antibiotics.

This zone had the highest number of students logged in out of all the zones in June’s I’m a Scientist (539), 91% of whom were active in ASK, CHAT or VOTE. Scientists in this zone were extremely positive and encouraging towards students which made for some sociable and engaging chats. One chat in particular inspired Avril to change her twitter handle to a name the students had made up for her – ‘Avrilbiotic’.

Students in this zone engaged well with the theme, although often asked questions about illegal drugs, addiction and side effects. The scientists were still happy to answer these questions outside of their research areas as best they could, which was appreciated by the students.

Posted on July 17, 2017 modmichaela in 2017, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Epidemic Zone Report – June 2017

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The Epidemic Zone was a themed zone funded by Wellcome. Rosie is a Consultant Microbiologist who advises other healthcare professionals about infectious diseases, Liz is a researcher who uses maths to understand more about norovirus and Christl is a Professor of Statistical Epidemiology who uses maths to study the spread of disease. Kevin is a Senior Epidemiologist working on cervical cancer and the HPV vaccine and Beccy is a PhD Student researching how to eradicate whiteflies to prevent the destruction of crops.

Lots of conversations in the zone focussed on the theme, with students showing a strong interest in infectious diseases and how they can be cured.

The scientists were great at interacting with students and a good rapport was built up, with friendly chats and conversations involving multiple scientists and students. The scientists in the zone also built up a good relationship with each other, which reflected positively in the chats. Notably, Rosie and Beccy continued to engage lots with the event even after they had been evicted. Liz, the winner of this zone, attended every single live chat.

Posted on July 17, 2017 modmichaela in 2017, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Mental Health Zone Report – June 2017

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The Mental Health Zone was a psychology themed zone funded by the British Psychological Society. Steve is researching how cancer medications affect people to help develop better treatments with less side-effects, Michelle is a postgraduate research student studying the beliefs of people with psychosis and Jermaine, the winner in this zone, is a lecturer of psychology who also researches how working in the public sector can cause mental health problems. Jack is a PhD student studying how sleep disturbances might put people at rise of experiences associated with schizophrenia and Gem works for Cancer Research trying to find the best ways to help people stop smoking.

There were around 16 A Level psychology classes taking part in this zone, so many students had a strong interest and understanding in the subject. This meant many of the live chats were incredibly focussed with informed questions about the psychologists’ research and psychology in general. These smaller A Level class sizes meant that the number of students logged into this zone was lower than the average for this event.

The theme of mental health meant that students often drew upon their own experiences, or those of friends and family, when talking to the psychologists in both ASK and the Live Chats. Michelle also spoke openly about her own experiences with mental health issues, which seemed to aid students’ understanding of the topic and help to diminish negative stigma.

Posted on July 17, 2017 modmichaela in 2017, BPS, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Relationships Zone Report – June 2017

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The Relationships Zone was a themed psychology zone funded by the British Psychological Society. Sam – the winner in this zone – is studying how the relationships we have with friends and family affect us, Rose researches how reading stories and watching stories on TV can help us understand and interact with people in real life and Maggi is a PhD student studying whether technology influences the relationships children with autism have with other people. Kirsty is studying how teenagers’ social relationships can affect their health and behaviour and Ben is looking at what children think about right or wrong actions.

Around 17 classes in this zone were A Level psychology students, and these smaller class sizes often meant that within Live Chats psychologists were able to spend time writing lengthy answers for students and engaging in really good discussions. The smaller class numbers resulted in a lower than average number of questions asked and students logged in, compared to the other zones in June’s event.

Students in this zone were focussed on the theme of relationships, and psychology in general. Questions were informed and thoughtful, with students asking about the psychologists’ research areas as well as wider discussions about relationships. The psychologists were great at giving detailed answers and looking up things they weren’t sure about to further the discussion, such as in this ASK question, where Rose researches and explains the psychology behind the love triangle in the Twilight books.

Posted on July 17, 2017 modmichaela in 2017, BPS, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Actinium Zone Report – June 2017

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The Actinium Zone was a themed zone funded by Wellcome. Samantha is an Educational Data Scientist analysing data to try and find out how students learn, Matt – the winner of this zone – is a Research Technician studying colorectal cancer and Deborah is working with robots to teach school students healthcare skills. Adele works for an engineering company working out how future buildings and developments could affect the environment and Adam is a postdoctoral research fellow currently studying venomous snakes to make new anti-venoms.

This zone was busy, with a higher than average percentage of active students and questions asked. Chats were often lively and fun, due to the scientists’ ability to easily engage with students. Matt and Adam were especially good at finding common ground with students, sharing jokes and building a rapport. They also made up nearly 75% of all activity by scientists in ASK and the Live Chats.

Students engaged with the work of all five scientists, with Matt, Adam and Deborah’s work being easy to relate to and attracting the most attention.

Posted on July 17, 2017 modmichaela in 2017, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Protactinium Zone Report – June 2017

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The Protactinium Zone was a general science zone funded by Wellcome. Thorrun is a community pharmacist working for Sykes Chemist, Nicolas is a Senior Lecturer in Physics and Astronomy who is studying the sun, and Helen is a science communicator for a biotechnology company that produces medicine for children. Dan, the winner of this zone, is a PhD student in chemistry studying tests for kidney disease and Amy is a research scientist looking at why people develop rare blood and bone marrow cancers.

All the scientists took an active role within the event and students showed an interest in getting to know them as people, with the highest percentage of personal-themed questions out of all the zones in June’s event. The scientists were all really friendly and good at engaging at conversations with students, within both Live Chats and the ASK section. There were a higher number of comments than the average of June’s zones, and many of these were scientists and students continuing a conversation, with other students joining in

 

Posted on July 17, 2017 modmichaela in 2017, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Thorium Zone Report – June 2017

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The Thorium Zone was a general science zone specifically for primary schools, and was funded by Wellcome. Wajiha is a PhD student researching ways to make MRI scans faster, Tom is a PhD student in nuclear fusion – working out how to make a star in a box – and Rosie, the winner in this zone, is a PhD student studying how life can survive in extreme environments like inside a volcano or at the bottom of the ocean. Phil is a landscape ecologist researching ways to observe bees in flight and Chris studies wheat plants to help us grow stronger plants without disease.

This was a really busy zone with nearly 390 questions sent to scientists in the ASK section, and the highest percentage of active students out of all the zones in June’s event (96%). All the scientists were great at answering directly and tailoring their language to suit younger students. Rosie and Chris were the most active scientists, providing nearly 80% of all answers by scientists and attending lots of live chats. This meant a lot of questions were related to their work, with students asking all about space and plants.

Posted on July 17, 2017 modmichaela in 2017, Wellcome Trust, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

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

Thallium Zone Report – June 2016

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The Thallium Zone was a general science zone funded by the Wellcome Trust. Sian works for the Food Standards Agency working with data to make sure food is safe to eat, Dawn is a cell biologist who grows brain cells and researches the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, David is a physicist who researches gravitational waves, Dan works at GSK testing drugs of the future and Christie is a PhD student researching how proteins work in the mitochondria. This zone was very busy, with a higher than average amount of questions approved. There was an even spread of answers by scientists in the ASK section, and Dawn, who won the zone, made up almost half of all live chat by scientists throughout the event.

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

Mercury Zone Report – June 2016

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The Mercury Zone was a general Primary School zone funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry, of which Waqar, Melissa and Angus were members. Waqar researches how to find out if someone has an infection by studying their breath, Melissa is an environmental scientist looking at how explosives travel through the ground and the effect the chemicals can have on the environment and Jenni researches how our brains understand the words they hear and read, in order to help children with learning difficulties. Catherine is a cardiac scientist who uses ultrasound to examine people’s hearts and Angus is a PhD student who researches what makes stainless steels rust in order to know what we can use them for. The zone received diverse questions, but was quiet compared to the average number of questions in June’s event.

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

Antibiotics Zone Report – June 2016

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The Antibiotics Zone was funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry, of which Lindsay and Jonny are members, with additional funding from the Biochemical Society Diversity Grant. Danna is a Research Associate who studies how bacteria evolve, Lindsay is a chemist working to improve compounds to better target diseases and Juan researches how our bodies fight off threatening microbes. Jonny is a PhD student working to make medicines in more environmentally friendly ways and Daniela is a PhD student who modifies the DNA of viruses.

All five scientists took an active role in the event, answering a similar number of questions and attending many live chats even after being evicted. Some students from Jonny’s old college – Selby College – took part in the zone and were excited to have the opportunity to talk to him in a live chat.

Posted on July 15, 2016 modmichaela in 2016, Biochemical Society, RSC, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Parasites Zone Report – June 2016

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The Parasites Zone was a themed zone funded by the Wellcome Trust. Mark is an epidemiologist who is interested in removing parasitic infections that harm vulnerable populations, Linda is a PhD student who studies the malaria parasite, Koi (who won the zone) uses big data to understand the life of parasitic worms that live in human blood, Franco works on allergy and infectious diseases and Claire is an immunologist who researches parasitic infections and treatments.

All the scientists took an active role in both the ASK section and live chats and answered a similar amount of questions. The zone was largely on topic, with a majority of the focussed on parasites and the scientists’ work, but received the fewest amount of questions compared to the other zones in this event.

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

Ecosystems Zone Report – June 2016

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Ecosystems was a themed zone funded by the Wellcome Trust, and was a zone specifically for Primary Schools. Vincent is a PhD student who uses maths to look at how species move within their environment, Luis researches the interaction between oil spills and marine sediments like beaches and the seabed and Joe is a biologist who studies animals with the aim of protecting them and educating people as to why we need nature. Joanna is a zoologist who studies how animals interact with their environment and Hannah researches animals that live on our sea shores and makes sure they are protected.

All the scientists were very good at adapting their answers and describing their work in ways to engage younger students, and the live chats were lively and fun. This was a quiet zone with a lower than average number of questions approved and live chats booked.

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

Cells Zone Report – June 2016

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The Cells Zone was a themed zone funded by the Wellcome Trust, and included five scientists whose work relates to cells in different ways. Sam uses polymers and proteins to research how cells evolve, Rob works in a cancer hospital using radiotherapy to treat cancer cells and Matt grows brain cells in order to study brain disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. Kylie studies white blood cells in the lungs to try and find out what happens to them when someone has lung disease, and Rebecca is a structural biologist who uses electron microscopes to study cells and proteins within them.

This was a busy zone with a high amount of questions in ASK and some engaging live chats which focused on the topic of cells, as well as other aspects of the scientists’ work and science in general.

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

Catalysis Zone Report – June 2016

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The Catalysis Zone was a themed zone funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry, of which Ruth, Rob, Laura and John were members. Ruth is a PhD student who creates new molecules to see what happens when they react, Rob works for a pharmaceutical company where he ensures chemicals are mixed in the right way and Luke is researching how to make medicines and other chemicals from a bacteria found in a compost heaps. Laura researches how sunlight can be used on reactions to use less fossil fuels within chemistry, and John is a lecturer who teaches organic chemistry and researches how to create new catalysts. This zone had the highest percentage of active students out of all the zones in the June event.

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

Toxicology Zone Report – March 2016

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The Toxicology Zone was a themed zone funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry, and Richard, Anais and Katy were members. Stuart works as a chemist making hazardous waste safe to handle, Richard devises methods for testing medicines, Lauren studies how pollutants can be toxic to fish, Katy is a Teaching and Research Assistant studying drugs of abuse and Anais is researching how fatty acids get inside cells.

The zone was busy, with an above average number of questions approved and answers from the scientists. Students showed a lot of interest in the scientists’ individual areas of work with lots of questions for Lauren about fish and Katy about drugs, for example.  All the scientists engaged well throughout the event with Lauren, the winner of the zone, and Stuart, who came second, accounting for over half of all scientist activity within ASK and the live chats.

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

Platinum Zone Report – March 2016

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The Platinum Zone was a general science zone funded by the Wellcome Trust. Daniel works with Embryonic Stem Cells and is funded by the organisation. Lowri studies people’s behaviour in relation to energy consumption, Greg is a doctor who researches how we can prevent diseases like cancer and diabetes, Kelly is an Intellectual Property Analyst for a chemical company and Giovanna is an experimental physicist who works with tiny electrical circuits.

The zone was quite busy throughout the two weeks, with a higher than average amount of live chats (22) compared to the rest of the zones in this event. There was an even spread of activity within the live chats from the scientists, and in the ASK section Lowri, the winner of the zone, accounted for 42% of all activity by scientists

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Medical Physics Zone Reprt – March 2016

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The Medical Physics Zone was funded by the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine of which Paul, Mobeen, Jennifer and Greg were members and the Institute of Physics. Mobeen and Jennifer were members. Paul researches new ways of using light to treat skin diseases, Mobeen is working on ways of imaging the brain to pick out age related diseases, Laura is a clinical vascular scientist who studies arteries and veins, Jen is a radiotherapy physicist and Greg is researching new ways to detect cancer.

The zone was quite busy with a higher than average amount of questions approved and answers given, although just 70% of students who logged in were active throughout the event. There was a lot of interest in health and disease, especially in the cancer research focus of the scientists.

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Iridium Zone Report – March 2016

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The Iridium Zone was a general science zone funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council. Scott is a particle accelerator physicist at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. Jim and Adrian are STFC funded PhD students; Jim analyses data to find new planets and Adrian is a particle physicist. Vicky works in flu vaccine stability management at MedImmune and Gaia studies genetic mutations in children.

The zone was busy with students mostly asking science questions rather than wanting to know about the scientists’ careers, with students interested in topics like black holes, gravity and disease. Most of the scientists were very active within the zone and there was a higher than average number of answers given compared to the other March zones. Scott, the winner of the zone, was the most active of all the scientists and contributed almost half of all live chat lines by scientists and over a third of all answers in ASK.

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Gravity Zone Report – March 2016

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The Gravity Zone was a themed zone funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council and Steve is a Post-Doctorate researcher who works on the Large Hadron Collider. The other four scientists are all supported by STFC; Emma studies how neutron stars emit gravitational waves, Bose studies gravity at a galactic scale working on testing gravity theories, Alice models explosions on neutron stars and Christian is a physicist who builds experiments to detect gravitational waves.

The majority of the questions were thoughtful and on topic with interest in current scientific discoveries, black holes and space in general. Most of the scientists were highly active throughout the event and were very encouraging towards students who wanted to learn more about physics.

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Gold Zone Report – March 2016

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The Gold Zone was a general primary school zone funded by the Wellcome Trust. Omur studies how stem cells become neurons to help cure brain disease, Chris looks at the birth and formulation of galaxies, Hayley researches sleep and how DNA relates to people’s sleeping patterns, Maddison creates tiny structures to improve smartphones and Jimi works with mass spectrometers to help fight cancer.

The zone was very quiet during the first week, however in the second week activity picked up and it became the one of busiest zones in the March event, with the highest number of questions approved and answers given. Students were interested in the work of the scientists, especially on the topics of cancer and sleep. There was an extremely high number of comments, with 629 in total and over 90% of student comments were from Lathom Junior School. Students interacted really well with this section and used it to ask further questions and also to discuss with each other, as well as the scientists, their ideas.

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Fat Zone Report – March 2016

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The Fat Zone was a themed zone funded by the Wellcome Trust. Majid looks at blood vessels in obesity, Hannah is a Lecturer in Health and Exercise Physiology, Sam researches how to keep healthy as we get older with Cancer Research UK, Charlotte studies how fats stored in the liver affect our health and Richard studies the role of a hormone that can make people healthier when they eat less food.

A large amount of questions were focussed on the topic, with interest in health related topics revolving around exercise and diets, for example. There was a high percentage of active students (92%) and chats were busy and engaging. There was a below average number of students logging in compared to the rest of the zones in this event which resulted in a lower number of questions approved.

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Climate Change Zone Report – March 2016

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The Climate Change Zone was a themed Primary School zone, funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry, and Helena, Iain and Cat were members. Iain studies the effect of cars and factories on the air, Elaine studies the chemistry of fossils to find out about what the climate was like in the past, Helena is researching new ways to make biodegradable plastics, Gabriel is a PhD student researching the sources of pollutants in the air and Cat is looking at how the chemicals emitted from trees affect the climate of the planet.

Within ASK and the live chats there were a lot of on topic questions about weather and climate, with students taking the topic of climate change quite seriously with an interest in how global warming can affect our future. The two final scientists, Cat and Helena, accounted for over two thirds of all scientist live chat interactions and ASK answers between them.

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Biochemistry Zone Report – March 2016

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The Biochemistry Zone was funded by the Biochemical Society, which Harriet was a member of, and the Royal Society of Chemistry. Harriet, Chris, Andy and Jessica were all members of this society. Nikki is a microbiologist and laboratory manager researching new antibiotics, Jess builds machines to help doctors hunt for diseases and Harriet designs new materials to be used to treat cancer. Andy and Chris are both lecturers at universities, Andy working in inorganic chemistry and Chris in biomaterials.

The zone had an above average amount of questions in the ASK section, where students engaged with the scientists’ individual work and research, as well as asking a variety of general science questions. Each scientist answered a very similar amount of questions in ASK.

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Ageing Zone Report – November 2015

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The Ageing Zone was funded by the Physiological Society, of which Peter and Siana were members. The scientists involved were working in a range of areas related to ageing processes including the effect of exercise on ageing, what happens to the immune system, dementia, the physical fitness of over 65s and studying how mice age.

The Zone was focused on its theme and was very busy in ASK, where over 1000 questions were submitted and over 400 approved. Students asked questions about many aspects of ageing, the research of the scientists, and about science as a career. This zone saw lots of discussion in the comments of ASK, and the final two scientists, Sara and Richard, engaged strongly throughout. Richard gave more answers (283) than any other scientist in November’s zones.

Posted on December 16, 2015 modantony in 2015, Physiological Society, Zone Reports | Leave a comment

Extreme Pressure Zone Report – November 2015

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The Extreme Pressure Zone was funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council, and the research of Jack, Craig, Giuditta and Flavia was funded by the organisation. The concept of extremely high pressure was involved in each scientist’s background, such as Giuditta’s research using it to warp magnets, Craig’s work looking at atoms under high pressure and Sheona simulating the action of plate tectonics and the earth’s mantle.

Popular topics in the zone were the research areas of each scientist, as well as questions about the scientists opinions on personal issues. The live chats in the zone were busy and all the scientists did well to engage in some very fast-paced chats. Between them, the final two of Jack and Giuditta contributed 60% of both lines in live chat and answers in ASK.

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Heart Zone Report – November 2015

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The Heart Zone was a themed zone funded by the Wellcome Trust, and Michael and Loan do research with the Trust. The scientists looked at areas such as the genetics of heart disease, stem cells involved in heart repair, blood vessel development, and how fat damages the heart. This was one of the busiest November zones in the live chats and also saw over 1000 questions submitted by students in ASK.

The heart was the strong focus of the zone, with student’s especially keen to find out about heart diseases and treatments. The scientists also talked about their research and what they get from doing their work. Cristina, in particular, engaged strongly in ASK and live chats, in which Praveen also worked hard to connect with the students.

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Spectroscopy Zone Report

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The Spectroscopy Zone was funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry, of which Baljit, Jesus, Arlene and Michael were members. All the scientists used types of spectroscopy in their research or work, for instance in detecting explosive compounds, in forensic chemistry, or to analyse the light from distant galaxies.

The students in this zone were interested in the research of the scientists and picked up on the details in their profiles, leading to varied discussion of careers in chemistry as well as how they each used spectroscopy. All scientists communicated well with the students and Jesus, the zone winner, engaged strongly throughout. He attended all 19 chats, often as the sole scientist, and contributed a third of the zone’s answers in ASK, as did Baljit.

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Osmium Zone – November2015

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The Osmium Zone was funded by the Institute of Physics. It was a general science zone where some of the scientists taking part had all previously studied physics but were now in roles outside of traditional academia and research that still required the science skills they had learnt. For example, Aaron, who has an undergraduate degree in physics, is a communications officer for the Royal Academy of Engineering, Keith now works for the National Nuclear Laboratory as a diplomat at the British Embassy in Tokyo, and Abbey is a mechanical engineer at Renishaw PLC.

Popular themes with students were the varied careers of the scientists, and different areas of physics, both related to these careers and on broader topics. The live chats were often busy and Natalie did particularly well in them, contributing 1,178 lines in total, the most of any scientist in November’s zones. Both Natalie and Aaron put special efforts in to answering ASK questions, often leaving detailed replies with links to further resources.

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Rhenium Zone Report – November 2015

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The Rhenium Zone was a general science zone funded by the Wellcome Trust. The scientists were from a variety of backgrounds including the immune system of worms, making molecules for use in nanotechnology, promoting evidence based medicine and physical activity research, detecting radiation levels and investigating the genomes of viruses.

This zone had the highest rate of active students in November and 95% of the students who logged in used ASK, did a live chat or voted. Popular topics in the zone reflected the research of the scientists, as well as more general questions about chemistry, biology and physics. Of the scientists, David and Nicholas engaged particularly well throughout, not just in the high level of answers and live chat but also in the quality of their responses, often to questions outside of their expertise.

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Tantalum Zone Report – November 2015

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The Tantalum Zone was a general science zone funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council. Four of the scientists, Monique, Carsten, Ashley and Bernard were connected to this organisation, either as users of its facilities and data, or funded by its grants. The scientists varied backgrounds included building particle accelerators, firing lasers at proteins, modelling galaxy clusters, developing plant-based biotechnology and improving the safety of steel.

This was the busiest of the November zones in terms of questions from students, and over 1200 were submitted. The popular topics in the zone reflected the research of the scientists, and many were physics related, ranging across subjects from sub atomic to galactic scales. Notably, Monique contributed nearly 40% of the answers, whilst zone winner Ashley was the most active in live chats.

Posted on December 16, 2015 modantony in 2015, STFC, Zone Reports | Leave a comment