Wow, what a mad fact-filled two weeks it has been, even more so because you crazy people voted for me to win! I’m a Scientist has been like a comet – dazzling, eye-opening and over far too quickly. My fingers have started to ease up now, after aching from all the typing during the live chats – my goodness they could be intense, you guys asking so many diverse questions in such a short space of time! So a gargantuan thank you to the organisers and moderators for running the event so seamlessly, it has been an absolute pleasure to be a part of. Thanks also to the UK Space Agency, for funding this fantastic event. Having the opportunity to share my enthusiasm for the madness and mystery of science has been a lot of fun, and seeing that enthusiasm echoed by students, teachers, parents and fellow scientists has been great.
I’d like to say a humongous thanks to all the students for their all their energy and questions. Some were easy, some made me scratch my head and have to think REALLY hard, some were really weird… but all the questions you asked were interesting and amazing. Keep it up! Never stop asking questions. Judging by how insightful and varied the ones in this event were, the future of science is bright with you guys taking the lead.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say I had to do a bit of research for some of the questions I answered, or that I knew all the answers straight away – I found out a surprising amount! That is the sign of great questions being asked – for example I didn’t know until some quick scribbles on the back of an envelope that our Sun causes tides here on earth, but only 3% compared to the tides from the Moon. In fact I learned quite a lot just from chatting to you all, especially from my fellow space scientists; Mark, Lisa (who I will always imagine as being chased by polar bears), Stephen, Rachel & Sammie, my fellow Jurassic Park fan. I – like a lot of people – really enjoyed reading your answers even during the frantic live chats, and hope to bump into you all in the future.
Before I sign off it wouldn’t be right not to acknowledge the passing of one of the great physics thinkers of my lifetime, Stephen Hawking. He was inspirational to so many people, not only for his scientific revelations (black holes ain’t so black!) but also for his humour, enthusiasm, and incredible ability to talk about insanely complex physics in way everyone can appreciate. If any of you haven’t read his “A Brief History of Time” it is like a book on anti-gravity – impossible to put down! He was a great proponent of thinking about big questions, and to enjoy it – as he put it himself, “Science is not only a disciple of reason but, also, one of romance and passion.”
Thank you all again to the Sun and back for taking part, which of course would take 150 years to drive, each way! I wish each and every one of you all the luck in the world with whatever you decide to do in life. Hopefully we showed you science is a good way to go!
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