As someone who’s right at the beginning of their career in science, I definitely did not head into this event thinking I would win, so I’d like to give a huge thank you to all the students who voted for me! I was asked some really thought-provoking questions, and even learnt a few things myself. The chats were crazy at times, but I had so much fun, and it was really great to see so many of you so interested in our research. I absolutely love doing outreach and getting to talk about exoplanets and astrobiology, so I especially enjoyed discussing the broader questions about life in space and the inevitable conversations about alien civilisations. I also found it interesting to see which questions were most commonly asked (mostly, what I’d name a planet, whether I’d been to space, and how many stars there were), as it helps me understand how people perceive my research and also what they’re most interested in finding out, which is useful information to take forward in the future. The students were all fantastic, and I really hope that they enjoyed the experience as much as I did!
I’ve got to shout out all the other scientists in the Imaging Zone – Matthew, Dan, Marleen, Sonal and Atreya – you guys rock, and it was really fun to talk to you and hear about your research when the chats were a bit slow. As a newbie to academia, it was super useful to hear about your career paths, and it was also nice to find out how scientists in other fields spend their days (glad to know I’m not the only one with a bit of a caffeine addiction)! I’m already missing logging into the chats every day with you all.
I’m really looking forward to getting my outreach project up and running with the prize money, which will be an event about women in physics, aimed at high school and A level students. I was heartened to get some questions from students about this subject in the chats, as I believe inclusivity and diversity are really important topics in STEM. It would be awesome if some of the students who took part in I’m a Scientist were at the event too, so they could see what their votes led to!
And finally, a huge thank you to the moderators and everyone in the I’m a Scientist team for running everything so brilliantly and for being so helpful, friendly and generally amazing. This is such an awesome event and I’d definitely encourage others to join in. Never mind the winning – it’s just a lot of fun, and you get a great opportunity to practise your public engagement skills (from your desk!) whilst also potentially inspiring a new generation of scientists! What’s not to love?
Scientists! If you’d like the chance to win funding for your own public engagement work, apply for the next I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: imascientist.org.uk/scientist-apply