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A uni-verse of talent at UK FameLab Final 2019

Monday 17th June 2019

Our Events Officer Rowena Fletcher went along to the UK FameLab 2019 science communication competition at Cheltenham Festival to cheer on Sam Hatfield, an atmospheric physics PhD student at the University of Oxford, who won the Oxford heats and was named UK runner up in the final. Putting the verse into uni-verse, Rowena waxes lyrical to share what happened next…

There is a competition – FameLab is its name,
For scientists to take the stage, engage and entertain.
Each has just three minutes from when they start to speak,
To explain a bit of science that they think’s really neat.

At the UK final there were 8 scientists to see,
From regions round the country and one online entry.

First Dominic Henri took the stand and he spoke about
A species that lays eggs in you, and eats you inside out.
The parasitoid wasp may not sound altogether friendly…
But this bio pest controller safeguards food for you and me.

Next came Ellie Murtagh, who said our food waste has…
Turned into methane – a short-lived greenhouse gas.
It’s much worse than CO2 – by eighty-four times!
Do we face the immediate problem, or safeguard down the line?

Emma Yhnell came onto stage with a friend from in the brain:
Nellie the neuron showed exactly how they change.
She showed how some diseases can cause the neurons trouble:
Dimming signals and worse to come – burst your chemical bubble.

Simon Santamaria brought a door handle on stage
To explain about backdraft, and the fire it can enrage.
When flammable gas meets oxygen, an explosion can occur…
So should firefighters back away – or open up the door?

Oxford’s Sam Hatfield reminded us that we must not forget
How duplex block by duplex block, we’ve spent the carbon budget.
And whilst we’re developing technologies, soon we’ll be too late
To fix the broken climate – we can’t afford to wait.

Then there’s Doug Acheampong – who came to help make sense
Of the robot revolution and user experience.
Can they take on ‘human’ roles, a robot that gives a hug?
Or free up human carers, by doing chores and stuff?

Tim Gordon is a reef whisperer, who listens for the sound
Of healthy or unhealthy reefs, and sees what swims around.
By playing sounds of healthy reefs, he found that he could draw
A lot more fish to come hangout… and help the reef reform!

Lastly Samantha Donnellan brought on to stage
A tuberculosis-guzzling large-scale macrophage…
And showed how she’d developed nano-particulates,
To deliver drugs to target!

The evening was completed by FameLab Academy;
The next-gen FameLab teens had a vibrant energy.
But now came the announcement: the fate of one was sealed.
The winner was Tim Gordon, runner up our Sam Hatfield.

But now you’ve read this summary, don’t put it on the shelf:
FameLab is for watching – now see it for yourself!

Rowena is a climber, chemist and Science Communicator (Science Oxford)




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