I’m going to start by staying a massive THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to vote for me, and everyone who took part and asked us all such wonderful questions. I’m still a bit surprised that I won the vote, but I’m really thrilled about this, and it means that I have some wonderful new resources that will go to enhancing the ChemBus outreach project.
I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here was a completely new way of doing outreach for me (I usually come and visit a small number of schools each year in person). I loved how easy it was for you guys to ask me questions from all over Scotland, and how we could all chat without having to travel anywhere. Please don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy coming to visit schools, however, our jobs don’t allow us a lot of time to do this, so being able to speak to so many of you without having to leave the lab (and take time off work) was amazing. If you enjoyed this as much as we did, please tell you teachers and also send some feedback to the brilliant, hard-working IAS team so we can make sure that these events continue in the future.
Next, I want to extend a big thanks to my fellow chemists, Shuo, Martin, Leonie, Lauren, Ciorsdaidh and Alan, who were busy answering your questions alongside me. I don’t know if you picked up, but we’re all from different Chemistry departments around Scotland (in order: Edinburgh, Heriot Watt, Strathclyde, Dundee, Glasgow, Aberdeen and me at St Andrews) and we were supported by an organisation called ScotCHEM, which promotes working between all these University Chemistry departments. Special thanks go to Lauren and Alan – I was convinced that one of them was going to beat me! Hopefully I’ll be able to meet up with some of these guys in person soon and we’ll come and do some more outreach together.
The next thanks is to all the moderators, who have kept the event running like clockwork and made sure that there are always scientists there for you to chat to. Thanks to everyone who oversaw our chats and made everything run smoothly in the background. These guys make this event happen, so please send them a wee e-mail to say thank you too!
And finally, onto the biggest THANK YOU – to all of the students who took part in the Molecule Zone. There were so many wonderful questions in both the Chats and the Ask zones from all of you. I really enjoyed answering these, even some of the ones that took me several days to have a think about my replies (I’m referring in particular to the question about World Population Control). A lot of the questions we were asked were not at all what I was expecting, but they were still really good questions – I definitely got better at answering these too as the event went on. Please don’t stop asking though!
I feel I learned a lot from all of you over the two weeks. I have a much better understanding of how the pressures on you are different at school than when I was there in the 1990s. It’s not your fault that you have less subject choices than we used to, so please, please make sure that every one of your choices counts. If you’ve got an idea what you would like to do when you leave school, find out which subjects would work best for you and try and make those choices in your columns. If you’re not sure, look at university websites about courses that interest you (they will tell you the requirements) and talk to your teachers, who will help too.
Thank you once again to all of you. And please… keep asking questions! (It’s the best way to learn!).
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