Science for Health
25 June 2013
Many scientists, when asked what originally turned them on to science, say that when they were a child they were inspired by meeting, or seeing on TV, someone who demonstrated just how exciting science can be. The desire to be that inspiring person for the next generation is what motivates them now to get involved in science outreach to schools. They aim to show the kids that science is fun, exciting and important.
NIMR scientists regularly take part in annual Institute events such as the Schools Days and the School Essay Competition, and in other one-off events. In the MRC Centenary year the ambition is to increase engagement with schools by encouraging more scientists to go out to schools to give talks, demonstrations and workshops. The 100 years, 100 scientists, 100 schools project aims to celebrate the centenary of the MRC by giving 100 NIMR scientists the opportunity to interact with school children from 100 schools and really make a difference to how they perceive science.
Visits are made to both primary and secondary schools, and a number of projects have been devised that are appropriate for different age ranges. The talks and workshops have covered protein structure and computer graphics, chromatographic separations, using microscopes to view cells and tissues, and using polymerase chain reaction to make DNA.
Engaging with schools helps you to develop communication skills and get lay feedback on your science. Children are a wonderful audience: they are receptive to your enthusiasm, critical of your assumptions and one day they may be the adult who decides your future funding!
Clare Davy, project organiser
Some comments from children at Christ Church Primary School in Barnet on the visit by NIMR scientists to their class.
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