I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here!

I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here! is an interesting and really worthwhile idea. Australian students can live chat with, ask questions of, and learn from working scientists. The students then vote on which scientists to keep in an idol-like elimination contest, with the last scientist standing winning a cash prize to go towards a science education program of their choice.

As the organisers describe it:

I’m a Scientist, Get me out of Here! is an award-winning science enrichment and engagement activity that has been running in the UK for three years.

It’s an Australian Idol-style competition for scientists, where students are the judges. Scientists and students talk online… They both break down barriers, have fun and learn. But only the students get to vote.

I love the idea of getting scientists and students to interact. And I suppose the competition lends the whole thing an immediacy and excitement that would otherwise be lacking. I must admit to some disquiet though at the idea of scientists being judged. But, hey, if that’s what it takes to engage kids and the scientists are willing to participate, who am I to judge? In any case the wonderful thing about this is that it shows scientists as they really are with their enthusiasm and dedication being the draw-card; and that’s far superior to efforts to encourage kids into science by glitzing up the image of scientists.

The topics and discussion are fascinating and the scientists involved have a great range of interests and experience. The kids ask some good questions: as the website says “Teenagers ask all sorts of questions – from the cheeky to the thought-provoking. They fizz with energy and can be infectious company.” An example that grabbed my attention: Did you know that some people who have had the lenses in their eyes removed, say after a cataract operation, can see ultaviolet light? And that Monet may have been one of these? That’s great stuff!

The Australian version of I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here! is produced by Adelaide’s Bridge8 and the interesting Kristin Alford who do a range of really fascinating stuff in the science communications space.

It’s still possible to register for the August round of I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here! if you act this week. For full details see imascientist.org.au.

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