In two sessions they got to quiz twelve scientists, researchers and staff from BBSRC, NERC, STFC and UKSA about life, the Universe and everything! One of the 12 panel members was the CLF's own sandwich student Anges Wojtusiak, who has been working with the CALTA team for over half a year now.
Agnes, along side her fellow panel members, answered a wide variety of questions from 'which one of you is the smartest? and 'is the Earth flat' to 'will we be able to live on Mars in the future?' and 'how do you detect neutrinos?'. Even the more flippant questions prompted lively debates about the need for a diversity of skills and experience in research, and public trust in experts. The students were particularly interested to hear about the research activity going on as a direct result of work done here in Swindon and showed a lot of enthusiasm for the two panel members who were born and bred in Swindon."The event was fantastic,"
Anges said. "Each question from the kids gave rise to a mini-debate between us; each scientist trying to explain concepts in our own way and add a little bit to the answer – the kids quickly learned that you can’t ask a scientist a “yes or no” question and get “yes” or “no” as an answer. The world is not as simple as that!"
At the end of each session the students voted for their favourite panel member, so while the students asked the questions, the UKRI researchers and staff competed to give the best answers. The winners of each session received the pride and glory of “I'm a Scientists – Live!" and a £100 cheque to donate to a charity of their choice.
The event was extremely successful and prompted lots of positive feedback from teachers and students: 'Nice to hear about live science'. 'Nice to see an even split between male and female scientists'. 'Liked the sense of humour'. 'Very well organised'. 'Nice to hear they are based near to us'. 'Nice to hear that they emphasised that you just need to be passionate and work hard'. 'Liked the audience participation'.
Anges shared, "I loved seeing the curiosity and excitement from the young budding scientists and I hope we helped them realise that they don’t have to be a grey-haired old man in a lab coat to become one."