Category Archives: 2017

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