Radio 4’s Material World is running a competition called “So You Want to be a Scientist?”. It stemmed from the idea that not just professional scientists in research labs have great ideas but people of all ages at home, in back gardens and schools can too. This is an ethos that Lab_13 Irchester agrees with completely!
Last year 69-year-old gardener Ruth Brooks from Devon was crowned the winner for her research into the homing distance of snails. With the help of ecologist Dr Dave Hodgson from the University of Exeter, she created an experiment in her back garden to measure how far she should move her snails away to stop them coming back to eat her petunias.
“The whole year was filled with fun,” said Ms Brooks. “For a non-scientist like me, it was great to have my research idea taken seriously. If I can do it, anyone can – just have a go!”
Now we can put our ideas, hunches and theories to the test!
If you’re chosen as one of Material World’s four finalists, your entry will be turned into a real experiment which you’ll carry out with the help of a professional scientist.
A panel of judges, chaired by Nobel prize-winning scientist Sir Paul Nurse, will select four finalists in December. The amateur scientists start their research in January and will present their results at the Cheltenham Science Festival in June 2012, where the judges will choose a winner.
We think the Lab_13’s would fit the bill for this wonderfully! Everyday we have more children from age 5 – 11 coming in asking questions that THEY want to investigate themselves. Things from “Do insects fart?” to a 6yr old who wants to investigate the Archimedes Principle after reading about it in a book. The only hard part will be picking just one of our worthwhile investigations!
What do you think?
Details can be found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/sywtbas/