Trinity Researchers Enjoy Clean Sweep in Science Communication Contest
Jan 02, 2014
Researchers from Trinity College Dublin won all four awards at Ireland’s science communication contest, ‘I’m A Scientist Get Me Out Of Here’. The online competition saw school students submit questions to panels of scientists who were divided into different categories based on their areas of expertise, before the students voted to keep their favourites in the running after they considered the answers they provided.
The main aim of the event was to encourage students to take an interest in science, and to spark their curiosity in the world around them. This was the second year that the event has taken place in Ireland.
There were two themed categories (Space and Nanotechnology), and two general science categories (called Helium and Lithium). Five scientists were assigned to each category, with the one who secured the fewest votes eliminated at each stage of voting in the X-Factor-like competition. Trinity scientists beat off their competition to claim top honours in all four categories.
Research Projects Coordinator at the Science Gallery at Trinity, Dr Joseph Roche, won the Space category, in which he answered questions on the laws of physics and how the universe works, while In the Nanotechnology category, CRANN representative Sinead Cullen’s answers on topics from biomedical sciences to the question of ‘which came first, the chicken or the egg?’ put her in the top spot.
The Helium category was won by Geography PhD candidate Shane McGuinness, who responded to questions such as ‘why do stars shine?, and ‘where does the wind come from?’. Zoology PhD candidate Sive Finlay ensured a clean sweep for Trinity representatives by winning the Lithium category after pleasing students with her answers to questions asking for explanations of quantum mechanics and consciousness.
“This was a hugely rewarding experience for all of the scientists. The variety of great and difficult questions, and the enthusiasm of the students, made it a pleasure to be involved in. Importantly, the challenge of losing all of the jargon while trying to explain scientific concepts and ideas is an important skill for any researcher to develop,” said Sive Finlay.
“We took part in half-hour sessions with school classes, where we were open to anything that the students cared to throw our way. Classes of around 30 students all submitted their questions at the same time, which meant it was challenging to come up with on-the-spot answers to varied questions.”
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