Friday, March 9, 2012

I'm a Scientist, what have I let myself in for?!

On Monday I will start my (up to) two week tenure on "I'm a Scientist, Get Me Out of here!". I agreed to do this as it seems like an excellent public engagement program. It's an opportunity for me to interact with many more school children than I could by doing my own visits, and it sort of sounded fun.

For those of you who haven't heard of this, it's a Wellcome Trust funded programme (and in addition my zone is sponsored by the Institute of Physics). We sign up for 2 weeks, and answer questions and do live chats with the students in our zone. They can then vote for us, and during the second week the scientist with the least votes will be eliminated - one each day. The last scientist remaining gets £500 to spend on science outreach (I propose to buy a telescope for our Astronomy in the City events, and some solar system models to give out on school visits).

Anyway right now I'm a bit terrified about what's coming! So far we've had in our zone, 20 separate requests for live chats (each 30 minutes long). That's 10 straight hours of live chat (over 2 weeks) if I could even do them all. We're assured we don't need to sign up for all of them, but I didn't get to be a scientist without being just a little bit competitive, so of course I want to do as many as I can!

I'm not really worried about interacting with the kids - I think that'll be fun (and I expect also challenging). What I am worried about is the amount of time it will take given all the rest of the stuff I should get done in the next two weeks. I'm also a bit worried about how I'll feel if I'm the first person voted off! ;) Conveniently those two balance quite nicely - in that I'll get more time for the rest of my job if I do get voted off early at least!

Anyway stay tuned. If I can find any time I'll blog about how it's going! ;)

If you want to check me out on the site - here's my profile which will also link to all the question I answer.

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