imascientist-logoIt’s been a mad week. I’m taking part in ‘I’m a Scientist, get me out of here’ which has basically taken over my life. It’s an awesome scheme that links schools with scientists, sorts us nerds into ‘zones’, then lets the kids ask us endless questions. It’s a brilliant idea for schools where outreach doesn’t quite reach (see my experience of outreach this week below), but also those that do. It’s free for schools and benefits both the students, teachers (they get a lesson off whilst the kids ‘live chat’ with cyber scientists) and scientists (it’s honestly given my week a whole new meaning). Here are some things it’s made me do:

  • My 08:00 lab-debrief chats with Seb have become pretty chaotic whilst I prepare myself for the 09:00 question messages
  • Desk lunch, everyday.
  • Desk between 15:00-17:00 everyday- I didn’t today, and that was an error (my competitor got to my question first!). I did however cycle the 6 miles home in 24 minutes, running through at least 4 red lights and annoying a French lollipop lady a lot. I just googled it-  a French lollipop lady is called a agent municipal (chargé de faire traverser les piétons), obv.
  • Re-arranged a thesis discussion meeting/ the only meeting I’ve had with my supervisor for a month
  • Have been barely able to work between the hours of 12:00 – 15:00 this week whilst I await daily eviction news
  • Ignored the IOP when they arrived early for an event I was hosting to tell postgrads to become physics teachers, because I was in an online chat.
  • I said I was busy to an uncle visiting London for one lunch from Manchester.
  • I chose to do IASUK questions rather than answer a referee’s comments on a scientific paper I’d written.
  • I have no idea what was going on during the one day of the sci comm conference I attended- two live chats, a million questions…
  • Looked like I was super happy about some atomic force microscope images, because I’d just seen I hadn’t been evicted under the table.
  • I’m so tired from all the typing and the emotions today I wrote ‘solar sell’ rather than ‘solar cell’
  • After my first day (three live chats!) my fingers were too jittery to type. Too jittery.
  • I’ve learnt more about consciousness than I ever think I’ll need to know
  • I’ve reassessed how I teach colour (based on how little kids seem to know about it)
  • I’ve got a new found love for my research

I guess the bottom one is the most significant. Feeling the excitement from children about how exciting it is to be able to work in a lab everyday, and how lucky I am to be able to do what I do- well, that’s the best really, and that’s a better feeling than any paper I’ve published or award I’ve won. Well, tomorrow is the final, so, watch this space…

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