At the weekend I had the pleasure of being a “ScienceGrrl“ for the day in Manchester at the Museum of Science and Industry. I was joined by a range of women scientists from all walks of life from archaeologists to nuclear physicists to cell biologists. The aim of the day was to communicate to museum-goers about what we do and promote science to all. We all had props relating to our job and the parents and children had to guess what our job involved.
For my prop, I decided to take something interactive and, after a lot of umm-ing and ahh-ing, I finally decided on demonstrating the fun of glow sticks. I went to a dark section of the museum and shared the wonder of chemistry with young children. I described the chemical process occurring in the glow stick and let them “crack” them open and see the chemiluminescence happening in front of their eyes. The children were wide-eyed with wonder at the changing colour and parents were genuinely intrigued by the science involved.
Apart from the props, the other ScienceGrrls and I spent the day wandering around the museum with a badge on saying “I am a Scientist, talk to me”. The idea of this was that we share the reason behind our research and show people how varied and exciting science careers can be. I shared the pharmaceutical relevance of my project, whilst others demonstrated how PET imaging works, how statistics is important in archaeology and how we are all made of stars (yes, really!). We also had the opportunity to stand on a soapbox and share science stories with the museum-goers, which was both a nerve-wracking and exhilarating experience.
My hope is that children went away from the museum inspired to read more about science and think about how science really is all around. I tried to share with all children that I spoke to that chemistry is everywhere, from the shampoo we use to the medicines we take to the cakes that we bake.
I had an amazing day. I met some fantastic women and I am even more inspired to keep researching, but more importantly, to keep sharing my love of science with the world.
Thanks for letting me be a ScienceGrrl for the day, bring on the next event!