• Question: What made you want to do "I'm a scientist'?

    Asked by pinklemonade to Anil, Blanka, Cees, Emma, Mike on 22 Jun 2012.
    • Photo: Michael Cook

      Michael Cook answered on 22 Jun 2012:

      Part of me wanted to talk to people about computers. We use computers every day, but no-one really knows what computer science is about. Even though there are lots of documentaries on TV about astrophysics and complicated biology, computer science never gets any love. I want to show people that computer science is really exciting, so more people come and study it!

      I also really like talking to the public. Did you know that all of my research money is paid for by people like your parents and your teachers? Some of the taxes they pay gets put into a big pot of money for scientific research, and each month I get paid thanks to their contributions! That means that I am doing this research for them, and for you guys (when you pay taxes, one day!).

      I think it’s really important that scientists talk to the public and show them what we’re doing. And you guys are the most important members of the public there is, because as you guys grow older, the work we’re doing now will affect you the most.

    • Photo: Emma Trantham

      Emma Trantham answered on 24 Jun 2012:

      I wanted to do “I’m a scientist” for several reasons.

      Partly it’s because I just love chatting about science in general and biology in particular. Seriously. My friends will tell you that once I get started it is hard to stop me! When you kind of take a step back and look, really look at the world we live in – it’s absolutely amazing. Nature is so intricate and complex and I find all the different ways living things have evolved just fascinating. As I said, I love talking about it.

      And (another reason) I want to try to persuade you guys it’s amazing. I don’t think you’re all going to go off and become biologists (although if you do all want to that’s fine šŸ˜‰ ! ) but I’ll answer any question you throw at me to the best of my ability (you’ll soon learn that there’s plenty of things I don’t know about!) and hopefully along the way I’ll convince you that the natural world is fantastic.

      Like Michael, I am funded by the tax payer and so I take every opportunity I can to explain my work in an easy to understand way to tax payers and future tax payers. To be honest I think all scientists have a duty to this if they are funded by the government or charities.

      And finally, as I said earlier, I’m not going to know the answer to every question. I’m going to have to go away and research and read to find the answers (if anyone even knows the answer) so I’m looking forward to learning things that I never knew before right alongside you.

    • Photo: Blanka Sengerova

      Blanka Sengerova answered on 24 Jun 2012:

      I’ve been involved in quite a few outreach/public science communication activities and this one came on the radar. When I heard about it, I thought it was such a fantastic thing to do – when I was at school (and apologies, I was probably quite a nerd at the time! :o)) I would have loved for my school to be involved in something like this.

      I enjoy telling people about the work I do and about science in general. More importantly, I think an awful lot of you guys will be needing to make some pretty big decisions in policy down the line, whether it is as politicians, as businesspeople or simply as voters, and some of the decisions will involve scientific issues. So it is important for you to be an ‘informed electorate’ and events such as this one can help you with that.

      And finally I thought it would be a fun. A huge challenge, I am sure as well, but fun too.