Postgraduate Helen Wilkes (2015, Biological Science) has represented St Catharine's in the regional final of FameLab. She competed against 6 other finalists who were vying to be selected as the regional winner, which would secure a place in the UK's national final.
Throughout the competition, Helen engaged a lay audience in different aspects of science: she spoke about how viruses infect human cells during the heats and about mitochondrial DNA during the final. Unfortunately, she was not successful this year but making it to the regional final is nonetheless impressive.
Understandably, this year's competition was disrupted by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As Helen explains:
"My experience of FameLab has been somewhat different to that of previous participants, as we were required to convert entirely to the internet, rather than being on stage. It has been interesting, challenging and most enjoyable preparing and performing 3-minute talks (on what can be complex scientific topics) for a lay audience. The ban on all electronic audio-visual tools was quite unnerving to begin with, particularly for a researcher, but it was something I thoroughly enjoyed. Overall FameLab was a great experience and has enhanced my enthusiasm and passion for engaging non-scientists about science."
FameLab is the only international science communication competition designed to find, train and mentor scientists and engineers to share their enthusiasm for research with the public. Participants from around the world engage and entertain audiences armed only with their wits and a few props – the result is an unpredictable, enlightening and exciting way to encourage curiosity in current research.
FameLab was started in 2005 in the UK by Cheltenham Science Festival. Since the beginning of our partnership with the British Council in 2007, over 10000 scientists and engineers from 31 countries have participated, with country winners coming together for the International FameLab Final at Cheltenham Science Festival each June. The result is a vibrant global network of scientists and engineers engaging with international audiences.