Firstly, I’m sure that all of the students, teachers and my fellow scientists would like to join me in thanking the organisers of this fantastic event! I had very little idea what I was letting myself in for and I have been blown away by just how much enthusiasm I have seen from everyone in the past couple of weeks.
A big thanks to my fellow scientists, Thomas, Ellen, Rupesh and Hazel who all contributed to some really great discussions – I will miss the banter we had with the moderators in the chats whilst waiting for the classes to come online! I feel very lucky to have come out ahead and I am sure the competition was incredibly tight. I’m looking forward to using the prize money to give some school children the chance to visit and do some cool, hands-on experiments in our university labs.
To the students, the passion you’ve shown and the energy with which you asked your questions was really incredible to behold. The diversity (and sometimes, just plain oddness) of your questions had me racking my brains and scratching my head. I have really enjoyed the chance to talk about what it is I do and speculate a lot on topics from the possibility of X-men powers and zombie apocalypses to the adorableness of red pandas.
I hope you learned a lot. I know I did. But I hope one important lesson that you learned is that the scientists you have been chatting with don’t know the answers to all your questions. I’ll admit it – I spent a lot of my time with google ready on a tab to “refresh my memory”. Scientists do not know everything. In fact, half the fun in science is having some questions that are as yet unanswered. I’m hoping that a few of you are now thinking that you might grow up to be the ones to help answer them.
Thanks to those who voted for me, but really – thanks to all of you for your time, and your questions and for your terrible, terrible puns (you know who you are).