Well that really was great fun and I’m delighted to have survived without getting evicted. Being a part of I’m a Scientist: Get me out of here! for the past fortnight has been wonderful.
Both the questions and the live chats were super fun – although to be fair sometimes there was smoke coming out of my keyboard during the chats, and my spelling went back to what it used to be before spellcheck was built into my computer.
I’ve learned a huge amount from outside my discipline, mostly about Ebola, Zombies and life expectancy (I wonder are these related?) and also realised that facts that we normally take for granted can be really complicated when you start to look into them “why is space dark when the sun is there?” was one of the highlight questions for me.
The students that asked the great questions should be really proud of themselves, as should their teachers and the organizers and sponsors of the competition. The other scientists in the group – Francesca, Ahmed, George and Nitheen, to their credit, all did sterling work in answering questions and becoming involved with chats (apparently George was in Malaysia last week, but his answers came back faster than ours in Dublin and Belfast – some “world wide web” magic in action there!).
I look forward to spending the prize money in the UCD School of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. We are thinking of inviting some outreach speakers and putting on a series of explosive chemistry shows in the near future and would hope that some of the students that took part in the chats and asked such good questions would be able to come along.
The quite specific and detailed questions that I had in relation sustainable chemistry and energy were really a surprise to me. It is clear that wide swathes of students out there aren’t glued to X boxes or the television and are definitely engaged in the word and are interested in how sustainability affects all aspects of their lives.
Best of luck to the “I’m a Scientist…” team in the future. Everyone I’ve spoken to agrees it’s a great initiative and deserves all its success. Waiting for those votes is a stressful time and I have a new respect for reality TV contestants.
Thanks again to the students for your interest (and your votes), I hope you keep up your interest in science and hopefully we’ll see some of you in the future in one of the UCD science degree programmes.