Get involved with science – British Science Week

Get involved with science – British Science Week

Friday marked the start of British Science Week! The one week in the year which is dedicated to all things science. I know what you’re all thinking, how awesome! Well, me too.

Science is not just for us scientists and researchers, it’s for everyone. One of the reasons I’ve made this blog is to break down complicated science and explain it in a clear way for everyone to learn from and enjoy. So many researchers can get bogged down into the hardcore science, writing paper after paper, but when asked to explain their science to a non-scientist they actually really struggle. Public engagement and outreach is becoming more highly recognised as an important area to target. I believe it is so vital that all the hard work scientists put in to advance the field is relayed back to the public. Plus, it’s always good to develop yourself and learn new things!

So what is British Science Week?

British science week

It’s a festival dedicated to science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), but weirdly it’s across ten days, not seven. There will be a huge range of science activities for all ages to engage with across the UK.

“British Science Week 2015 saw over 5,000 events engage more than 1.6 million participants, with activities taking place across the UK.”

It’s such a great opportunity for everyone. It encourages the scientists to develop their ability to explain the research to a lay audience, and to think outside the box to create some really fun activities. Most importantly, it shows that science is fun and interesting, and provides a platform for anyone to get involved with the science community.


 

How can I get involved?

 

There are going to be hundreds of events across the UK. Interested in Biology? Chemistry? Physics? Maths? Engineering? The whole combo?… well there is something for everyone. The best place to check out these events is by clicking on British Science Week’s website. From there you can get more details on how to get involved in your local area and what exciting activities you can get stuck in with over the ten days.

For those that don’t know, I’m a PhD student at The University of Southampton, so I’m going to talk about a few ways you can immerse yourself in science across the UK but also specifically in the city of Southampton.

Southampton Science and Engineering Day

 

Sotsef
Photo from University of Southampton

Living in or around the Southampton area? Or visiting next weekend? Saturday 18th March is the Southampton Science and Engineering Day, and it’s a great day out for the whole family. Check out the programme to find out what you can discover on the day. There are plenty of interactive games and activities to have a go at!

I’m going to be there jumping between two stands. The first one being Pint of Science (which I’m ecstatic to be publicist for!) and my department’s stand which is all about how maternal nutrition can affect the baby’s health throughout their life course. So come over and say hello!

What about outside of British Science Week?

British-Science-Association-logo

 

Are there events outside of British Science Week to get involved with? Of course there are. We’re not going to make you wait for another 51 weeks! Check out British Science Association website  to find out what events are happening after this science festival across the UK. Here are a few good ones to bare in mind…

Pint of Science

file-13-03-2017-15-22-43-e1489418632129.jpeg

Scientist or non-scientist – stop what you are doing and add Pint of Science to 15th, 16th, 17th May 2017 in your diary/calendar/planner! This is one science festival you don’t want to miss. Pint of Science is happening in lots of different cities across the UK, and I have the privilege of being the publicist for Southampton!

So what is it?

The festival has grown immensely over the past few years. There are six different themes (Atoms to Galaxies, Beautiful Mind, Planet Earth, Our Society, Tech Me Out and Our Body) and each theme hosts their three nights in a pub somewhere in the city, cool right? There are typically two or three speakers at each pub talking about their research. It’s a relaxed way for anyone to come and learn about the research going on. Event nights sold out last year, so go to our event page, keep an eye out for when tickets go on sale, come along, grab a pint and engage with science!

 

Bright Club

Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 19.30.32
Photo from Bright Club Southampton

Do you consider scientists to be comedians too? Well Bright Club is when researchers become comedians for the evening. This originally started at University College London but has since grown across the country. Here in Southampton we’re lucky enough to of had a dedicated team of postgraduate researchers to start their own Bright Club Southampton. The event nights are open to researchers in any field to give the science/stand-up comedy mix a go, but of course anyone can come along to learn about the science going on behind the scenes and have a laugh!

Interested in a specific speaker who performed at a show? Well they’ve just started doing podcasts so you’ll be able to listen to the interviews and learn more about that researcher and all of their hard work. Next event is in May, so stay tuned!

Soapbox Science

Soapbox science

This one is for the female scientists out there! Soapbox Science gives passionate women in STEM the opportunity to tell the public about their research.

“It won’t surprise you that science suffers as much from the gender-biased leaky career pipe as any other demanding career… up to 60% of science undergraduates are women; yet only 15% of UK science professors are women. Soapbox Science is born from the hearts of active female scientists who are deeply concerned about the loss of excellence from the women of the UK’s science community”.

Events are happening in multiple locations within the UK (including Belfast, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Exeter, London and Manchester) as well as in Germany, Canada, and Australia. Ladies, get stuck in, stand up on that soapbox and share your exciting new research findings!

BioBlitz

bioblitz

Are you interested in conservation and ecology? If yes, have a look into BioBlitz. This is a fantastic opportunity for nature experts and the community to unite. It’s all about exploring the local wildlife and biodiversity – finding and identifying as many different species of birds, bugs and plants as you can.

 

University of Southampton Roadshow

UoS roadshow
Photo from University of Southampton

 

This is all about “bringing research to life”. The team get on the road and attend various public events across the south of England, sharing all the different types of research that goes on here at the university with you. Click here to find out where they plan to go this year. Watch out for them at Southampton Science and Engineering Festival, Cheltenham Science Festival, Glastonbury Festival, New Forest Show and many more!

The Science room @ The Art House

The science room

The Science Room is a unique organisation that hold events on alternate Saturdays. It’s all about science led by the community, which is super cool. Events are based on your questions, and then relevant researchers are invited to discuss the answers. It’s great, it allows those questions which many people wonder about to be discussed, like “why is the sky blue?”. It’s a great chance to meet new people and engage in a whole new community, creating a dialogue between the scientists and the public.

Researchers’ Café

Researchers cafe

Want to know more about the research that goes on behind the University of Southampton’s doors? Attend a Researchers’ Café event! Sit back, listen to researchers explain their research, sip some hot tea or coffee and be part of the discussions.

Café Scientifique

Cafe scientifique

“Science for the price of a coffee”

Café Scientific is run multiple locations worldwide. It’s all about wondering into a café or bar and enjoying a coffee or glass of wine whilst enhancing your scientific knowledge. Discuss current research and debate scientific issues. Get those sciencey brain cells working!

 

 

Scientists – get involved too!!

Are you a scientist? Don’t just hide out in the lab, get out there and share your exciting new findings! Educate those that do not work in STEM, and enhance the amount of science others can learn. Wherever you are in the world, check out what opportunities are in your area and ask to be involved!

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So whether you are a non-scientist or a scientist… get stuck in!

 

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