Throughout all the frantic chats, clever questions, insightful comments and corny jokes, one thing has been clear: so many of you are fascinated by science. Don’t lose that passion! Society needs your curiosity, creativity and imagination. I’d be delighted if just one of my answers has encouraged someone to keep working hard at science. It gets (even) better after school: I promise!
I’m really grateful to everyone who voted for me and I’m delighted to be the winner of the Immune Zone. To my fellow scientists, Ashlea, Lizzie, Sian, Ben and Francis: thank you for making us such a great team. You all did a wonderful job and I learnt so much from you. Some of my favourite moments were when we had the chance to discuss a topic and share our knowledge to answer a really interesting question together. I never expected to be reading about black holes and blood cells at midnight or chatting to thirty teenagers all at once, but it was too fun to stop! Logging on to see the latest questions was always a highlight of my day.
Thank you, students, for being enthusiastic and for keeping us all on our toes! You reminded me why I love science. I hope we taught you something about immunology and cancer. Just as importantly, I hope we helped open your eyes to all the wonderful career options in science. To be a scientist, you don’t have to be a genius or know all the answers or even wear a white coat – you just need to be passionate.
I’m also grateful to the organisers and moderators who made the event run so smoothly, and to my colleagues in the lab, who put up with me even when I was urgently asking them what makes white blood cells white or why humans evolved to cry. I won’t hesitate to recommend I’m a Scientist to my friends who are scientists and teachers: it has been a very rewarding experience. I’m going to use the prize money to start a biology podcast and bring ideas from synthetic biology to the classroom.
Thanks for everything and good luck!
Scientists! If you’d like the chance to win funding for your own public engagement work, apply for the next I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here: imascientist.org.uk/scientist-apply