I'm a Scientist, get me out of here!

Researcher Dr Ben Still has come out on top in I'm a Scientist, get me out of here!, a unique competition, combining science, excited school kids and X Factor style voting.

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Supported by the Wellcome Trust, I'm a Scientist, get me out of here! has pitted scientists against each other in a battle to win over the hearts and minds of secondary students around the country for prize money of £500.

The competition kicked off two weeks ago with 100 scientists (including four from Queen Mary), in 20 different zones, answering challenging questions from school students online in live chats and messages. The students have voted for who they think should win and the results have now been announced.

Dr Ben Still, from Queen Mary's Department of Physics beat off stiff competition to win the 'Sodium Zone' and PhD student Marianne Baker from the Institute of Cancer was runner-up in the 'Silicon Zone'. Popular contestants Dr Louisa Chard and Dr Gioia Cherubini fought hard, but sadly didn't cut it with the discerning voters.

Sodium Zone winner, Dr Ben Still, said; "This has been a rollercoaster masterclass in communicating science, scary at times but I'm so pleased to have won in my Zone. This has been an amazing chance to connect with young people and find out how they view science; it's been both inspiring and energising. The warmth and gratitude the kids have shown has made me realize how important these issues are to them, and how important they are to us."

"I have always thought that there was a niche for a scientists talent show, hence I couldn’t resist participating in I’m a scientist Get me out of here!" said Dr Gioia Cherubini. " I have been asked everything from: 'what's the biological base of consciousness?', to 'are you environmentally friendly in your job?' via 'why do cancers lack a hayflick limit?' and thanks to the kids' curiosity I have learnt a lot, looking for answers to questions that I have never asked myself."

Sophia Collins, co-producer of the event, said; "I think the reason I'm a Scientist is so successful is because it makes young people feel empowered - by letting them vote and having their vote count, it gives them a reason to engage with the science, and shows them that their opinion matters. The fact that the event is real - real scientists, real science, real prize money - makes it a far more vivid experience. This event is the last of 2010 but plans are in place to roll out the project on an annual basis."

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