The first half of the two-week I’m a Scientist, Get me out of Here! in Australia event has gone down a storm with both students and scientists. The ‘Ask’ forum and the live-chats in each themed zone, Agriculture, Disease and Wet & Wild have been full of thought provoking questions from students aged 10-18 years. Scientists have done their best to keep up, providing informative, interesting, and fun answers.
Although a public holiday in many states, day 1 was a busy one. Students submitted their first round of questions after reading the scientists’ online profiles – the what? the why? the how?
Student: What made you enter this competition? (Wet & Wild)
Scientist (@Jenny): … The simple answer is I thought it would be fun … I also think it’s important to get the next generation thinking about science … it is responsible for almost everything we have and take for granted…
Students (many!): Why did you become a scientist? (Disease)
Scientist (@Katelin): … Science gives me the tools to answer any question I might have, either by experimenting myself or examining what other people have found…
Students (quite a few!): How important is your research for the future? (Agriculture)
Scientist (@Brent): … sustainable agriculture… less nitrogen fertilisers used and better yields. We are not there yet but hopefully someday we will be…
Day 2 was the first day of the live chats, and if the scientists weren’t challenged so far, these really got them thinking! Students fired questions at them from all angles, and they did well to keep the pace. We saw our first lot of science jokes on Day 3 in the Wet & Wild zone (very apt) with the best joke from @jordanproskewitz “Did you hear oxygen went on a date with potassium? A: It went OK.” who went on to ask “”is the changes in the environment mainly affected by us humans?”.
Students have shown that they are more than aware of the challenges we face as a society in areas such as agricultural sustainability, global warming, genetic diseases and rapidly evolving superbugs. Questions such as “Do we currently grow enough food for the whole human race? If only we could share. Are there any future plans for feeding the human race?” is only one example of the concern displayed so far. But some ask if working towards a future in science is really worth all the effort? “Why did you bother spending 10 or so years just to get to where you are today? And was it worth the time? why? And thankfully our scientists seem to think it is.
After 10 live chats on day 3, and almost half of those in the Disease zone (our busiest so far), who could blame our scientists if they wanted an easier day 4? But they turned up raring to go – a good thing considering we had eight more chats to get through. Freakiest answer of the day was actually in a live chat with Moriah College.
Student (Moriah College): What is the most interesting thing you’ve come across in your work?
Scientist (@Shona): I was doing turtle research and I found a baby turtle with two heads!! that was cool
But who has been the students favourite? Which scientist won the most votes? With evictions taking place from Monday, their answers better be good, or they’ll be OUT!