Category Archives: 2015

Sustaining Health Zone Report – March 2015

Sustaining HealthThis zone included scientists whose research followed the theme of the Wellcome Trust’s ‘Sustaining Health’ strategic plan. This scheme aims to bring together different disciplines researching how to improve the health of the growing global population, resulting in a zone consisting of scientists from varied fields, including plant archaeology, bacteriology and water purification.

Students asked many questions referencing these areas, and the top three scientists engaged strongly in both ASK and CHAT. This made it one of the most focused zones during March, and 92% of students asked a question, voted or attended a live chat. The Zone winner, Sam, in particular was very active in live chats, providing 39% of the scientists’ activity across the 18 live chats.

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Particle Physics Zone Report – March 2015

Particle Physics

The Particle Physics Zone consisted of scientists whose research ranged from designing electromagnets of accelerators, to analysing data from the Large Hadron Collider, to computer modelling of quantum interactions.  This zone was one of the most focused of the themed zones in March, and questions covered the whole range of particle physics, testing the scientists’ knowledge regularly. The top three scientists were very competitive, and the winner, Ollie, attended all but one of the live chats.

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Molecules Zone Report – March 2015

Molecules

The Molecules Zone was a themed zone that included scientists illustrating the diversity of chemistry. Their backgrounds ranged from drug development, to alternative fuels, to researching novel chemical reactions. This zone was one of the most active during March and the scientists did well to keep up with the 334 approved questions and engage with the students during busy live chats.

The number of comments left in ASK (89) was nearly twice the average for March (45). The 338 votes cast was also above average for I’m a Scientist. Question topics in the Zone were not purely focused on chemistry and this resulted in the feeling of a general science zone.

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Medical Physics Zone Report – March 2015

Medical Physics

The Medical Physics zone had the most students of all the zones and the most live chats. It was run as part of a study organised by the Institute of Physics, which investigated gender behaviour during the event. This meant that double the usual number of classes was signed up for this zone. The scientists who took part were all involved with imaging and treating patients using MRI or radiation therapy. This was a competitive zone where all scientists contributed a similar level of answers and each attended many of the increased number of chats.

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Materials Zone Report – March 2015

Materials

The Materials Zone was a themed zone run for primary school students with funding from the Royal Society of Chemistry. The chemists taking part worked in a variety of areas related to different materials, such as colour inks, plant plastics and computers using transition metals molecules. Nearly every student that registered was active on the site with 99% using ASK, CHAT or VOTE. Questions and topics in the zone were much broader than the theme as the students used the opportunity to ask the scientists questions on many different areas of science in addition to materials, and the scientists enjoyed the challenge.

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Light Zone Report – March 2015

Light

The Light Zone was a themed zone featuring scientists associated with the Science and Technologies Facilities Council. After a quiet start it became one of the busier zones, and it was one of the most topic-focused zones during March, with questions about many different aspects of light. There were also a lot of quirky questions for the scientists to answer and this zone had two particularly engaged scientists in Hugh and Ed. During live chats, Ed was responsible for more lines than three of the scientists put together.

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Immune System Zone Report – March 2015

Immune System

The Zone was one of the busiest during March, in which 699 questions were submitted and 373 were approved, both the highest number out of the March zones. It was also the most focused zone, and the students were really interested in what the scientists could tell them about their research and their daily lives.

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Holmium Zone Report – March 2015

Holmium

The Holmium Zone was a general science zone and one of the busiest during March, with a very high percentage (92%) of the 444 students active on the site. Many of the participating schools registered multiple classes resulting in one of the largest zones. The students cast the most votes of any March zone (430) and there were a high number of comments left on the scientists’ answers.

The scientists were researching a variety of subjects, including patterns in nature, materials for lasers and computer modelling water, and this diversity was reflected in the questions students asked. There was variation in how much the scientists engaged but Zena was consistently well engaged, and she and Frank both only missed one live chat during the two weeks.

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Green Chemistry Zone Report – March 2015

Holmium

The Green Chemistry Zone involved nine schools and a total of 407 students. The scientists were researching new ways to reduce the environmental impact of industrial processes, from finding alternative fuels to making materials from sustainable sources. The live chats in this zone were busy and Jo, Sankar and Sarah engaged really well in these, with Sarah continuing to attend them after being evicted. It was one of the least focused themed zones for March, resulting in it feeling more like a general chemistry zone.

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Genes Zone Report – March 2015

Genes

The Genes Zone was one of the most focused zones during the March event, with many discussions on the topics of genetics and DNA. A very high proportion of students (93%) were active on the site, the number of comments submitted was above average, and the ratio of approved questions to those submitted was high at 56%.  The scientists were mostly excellent in attending chats, with nearly all the chats including at least three scientists.

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Evolution Zone Report – March 2015

EvolutionThe Evolution Zone was a primary zone run as part of a University of Reading research project that is working with primary schools to create effective strategies for teaching evolution. In line with the project aims we ensured that the zone included scientists with and without a religious faith and asked students additional survey questions on this and other themes addressed in the research.

Popular topics in this zone were animals and the process of evolution, and the live chats were very busy, with the average chat producing 458 typed lines, well above the average for March (331). Thad and Thomas between them accounted for the majority of both the answers in ASK and lines of live chat.

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Erbium Zone Report – March 2015

Erbium

The Erbium Zone was a general science zone with a high number of participating students (458) compared to the average for March (383) spread fairly evenly across the schools taking part. It had both the most questions submitted and the most lines per live chat across the March zones, and the scientists did well to keep up, with nearly all live chats being attended by three or more scientists. Imogen and Tom were particularly well engaged, accounting for well over two thirds of live chat lines.

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Dysprosium Zone Report – March 2015

Dysprosium

The Dysprosium Zone was a general science zone featuring five scientists from varied backgrounds who answered questions on a wide range of topics covering biology, chemistry and physics. Dysprosium Zone had the most active proportion of students out of the March zones with 94% of the registered students chatting, sending in questions and voting. The live chats were especially busy, containing an above average level of typed lines. The winner, James Pope attended every available CHAT during the event.

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