I'm a scientist, get me out of here!

Author: Iain Bethune
Posted: 19 Jun 2015 | 16:09

I'm a Scientist Logo

This week I've been taking part in I'm a Scientist, Get me out of here, an online event funded by the Wellcome Trust where high school pupils engage in live chats with scientists from around the UK.

It's a great opportunity to reach out to young people and give them some insight to what it's like working in science, and get to know a little bit about what scientists are like too. To give the schools some idea what we do, I uploaded a profile which gives not only some details of what I do, but also a short Q&A interview.

Ytterbium"I'm a Scientist" is run in different themed 'Zones'. I've been assigned to Ytterbium, which is a general science zone so the questions can be on absolutely any (science) topic. In the zone with me are a Linguist, a Parasitologist, a Biologist and a Radioactive Waste Management Consultant! We take part in pre-booked live chats with individual classes which last 30 mins, and are really full-on as the questions keep coming thick and fast.  

Here the diversity of the scientists in the zone really helps because we can pick and choose to answer questions in our respective areas of expertise. Some of the questions are more general, asking things like "What first interested you in science?", or "Who do you think is the most influential scientist?" and we all chip in on those.  

So far I've done 12 of these chat sessions, with 9 different schools spread across the UK. The pupils can also submit questions through the website to be answered in more depth outwith the chat sessions. There are hundreds of these, but I've answered as many as I realistically can!

Next week the "Get me out of here" part kicks in - starting from Tuesday the students will vote for their favourite scientist each day, and one of us will be evicted from the zone!  By Friday there will be two of us left to battle it out for the pupils' approval, with the winner being awarded a £500 prize to spend on a public engagement project.  I'll write another post next week to let you know how I get on!

Image: "Ytterbium-3" by Jurii - http://images-of-elements.com/. Licensed under CC BY 1.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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