• Question: Why do you think using 500 pounds on designing games is more important than finding a cure for cancer :@

    Asked by whgraceandaim to Anil, Blanka, Cees, Emma, Mike on 2 Jul 2012.
    • Photo: Michael Cook

      Michael Cook answered on 2 Jul 2012:

      Aww, tough question!

      I don’t. That’s the honest answer. Curing cancer is a really important goal. But the money is about communicating science and teaching more people about how science works! Computer science is very badly communicated to people at the moment – the public learn lots about physics, biology and maths from documentaries, but computing is almost never mentioned!

      That’s why some of the money is going to be donated to Code Club. They want to teach primary school kids to code, and the money will be spent on buying things like programmable Lego kits. Teaching programming is really important in training the next generation to use technology that will eventually surround them every day!

    • Photo: Emma Trantham

      Emma Trantham answered on 2 Jul 2012:

      I know this question might be aimed mainly at mike but thought I might chip in too.

      It’s really difficult to work out why money should go into different types of research. You could argue why do we put money into space research? Why doesn’t it all go into cancer research?

      The tricky bit is, we never know exactly what any type of research will bring. Research into computer games could help make computer simulations that would allow surgeons to practice their life saving surgery on a dummy rather than a real person (and I’m sure Mike has better examples).

      If we only looked specifically at one thing we narrow ourselves down too much and so would miss out on learning things from another perspective.

    • Photo: Blanka Sengerova

      Blanka Sengerova answered on 2 Jul 2012:

      I think you are talking about the £500 that we might get if we win this competition. There is a stipulation that this should be spent on public engagement and outreach work so it is not actually going towards our own research. For the £500 would sadly be too small an amount, when people write grant proposals they might be talking about 100,000s of pounds to work on a project.