First off I’d like to say thank you for taking part and being so enthusiastic, asking about our science and about us, I’ve really enjoyed talking to all of you – if I’ve managed to inspire even one of you to consider becoming a scientist, I’ll have accomplished my mission!
I’d also like to say a massive thank you to the organisers and the mods for making sure things ran smoothly, and to my fellow scientists for being so friendly and supportive and providing funny, insightful answers to your questions.
Hopefully, talking to us made you realise that scientists are just like you – we have hobbies, we like to listen to (or create!) music, we also play video games and we are by no means perfect – an experiment that works is the exception rather than the rule in science, but it’s our curiosity and our persistence that drives us. So if you’ve ever wondered about how something works (clearly, you have, as you wouldn’t have asked us so many questions if you didn’t!), you are well on your way to becoming scientists!
I certainly learned a lot while trying to answer your questions – and I managed to answer about 420 of them over the two weeks! I was amazed by how curious you were, especially about space – which was quite challenging for all of us, as none of us study astrophysics. Luckily, Google had the answers – most of the time.
I now know that the Sun’s surface is about 27 times hotter than your average oven, and that there are about 5-10 times more stars in space than there are grains of sand on all the beaches of Earth combined. I also found out (through careful simulations in the Universe Sandbox video game..) that if the Sun were to somehow turn into a black hole, Earth would not get sucked into it – it would stay on the exact same orbit (because the black hole would have the same mass as the Sun did, so it would have the same gravitational pull on Earth).
I also learned more about my own area of genetics – for example, I never knew that camel – llama hybrids existed (they do and they are called camas!). A neat visualisation I picked up is that if you stretched out the DNA from all your cells end-to- end,
you would die it would be long enough to cover the distance between Earth and the Sun 100 times over.
Lastly, some questions just made me sit back and go ‘huh, really wish I’d studied philosophy to answer that one’, such as ‘What makes us human?’ or ‘How do you think Artificial Intelligence will impact human evolution?’
Being part of I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here! has further reinforced my love for talking about science to audiences that come in all shapes and sizes, and winning it is proof that I must be doing something right! Hopefully, I’ll make a career out of it, so this might not be the last you hear of me!
Until then, stay curious and never be afraid to ask difficult questions – our future depends on people like you!
Live long and prosper,