I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here returns for two weeks from Monday 9th–Friday 20th March.
We’re running eight themed zones and four general science zones this March.
Read on to find out about them, or head straight to the application form to take part:
- Teachers apply by 24th January: imascientist.org.uk/teachers
- Scientists find out more and apply: imascientist.org.uk/scientists
It feels like artificial intelligence (AI), algorithms and machine learning are in the news everyday. These fast-growing areas of computing actually involve a wide range of fields and affect everyone’s lives, whether we know about it or not! Scientists are keen to harness the power of AI and machine learning for the benefit of science and society.
Scientists in this zone might be using AI to sort through and analyse the huge amounts of data from big experiments like the Large Hadron Collider much more efficiently. Or they might be helping lawyers use AI assistants to keep on top of difficult new data regulations. They could be training software to detect cancer that human doctors might miss in MRIs and helping diagnose other diseases faster and more accurately.
The AI Zone is funded by STFC.
Remember that song you used to hate, but then heard so much everywhere you start to quite like it? Bacteria can find the same thing with antimicrobial drugs designed to kill them. Drugs treat lots of diseases and health problems, but over time, the microbes causing the conditions can evolve and become resistant to them. Resistance can spread very quickly, and is one of the most serious problems facing modern medicine. Diseases and infections that were almost completely cured are now becoming increasingly difficult to treat.
Scientists in this zone might be tracking the evolution of microbes as they become resistant, they might be advising the government and NHS on how to deal with the problem, or they could be modifying existing antibiotics in order to strengthen them against the evolved bacteria.
Your childhood is everything that happens from when you are born to when you become an adult (whatever that means) and psychologists are fascinated by it. For example, attachment theory says that a strong emotional and physical attachment between a child and at least one parent or caregiver is critical to a child’s development. Psychologists are interested in the different relationships children have, such as the roles of parents, and what happens when a child has multiple attachments, or none at all.
In this zone, you might meet psychologists looking at how different childhoods can affect people’s mental health, how children understand their sense of self and relationships with others, or how what happens to you in childhood influences the adult you become.
The Childhood Zone is funded by the British Psychological Society.
Think about the different communities you are a part of. Your family? Your school friends? Maybe a sports team? Or how about an orchestra? And not to mention the groups you’re in online- Instagram, TikTok, all are communities in some way. What influence do you think these different group have on you as a person? And what is your impact on the people around you? The world around us has a huge effect on our behaviour and our emotions, so naturally psychologists study it!
Psychologists in this zone might be trying to understand the effect of other people’s expectations about our gender, or how different social media communities set up their rules and keep people in line with them. They might be looking at what makes a great, healthy place to work versus an ‘Office’-style nightmare, or how people marginalised in society can become empowered on their own terms.
The Community Zone is funded by the British Psychological Society.
We use energy all the time, for things we might take for granted; heating our homes, working on the computer, running machines in hospitals, and keeping food chilled in shops. As the world population increases we are using more and more energy, most of which is generated by burning fossil fuels that release high levels of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere — not good for climate change. However, there are lots of renewable sources of energy that are much better for the environment, like solar, water or wind.
Scientists in this zone might be researching future energy sources, finding new materials to keep our homes warmer in winter, or be working out how best to get the energy we have around the country, looking deeply inside our ultimate source of energy, the Sun.
The Energy Zone is funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Food ZoneEvery wondered why some foods taste so good? Why don’t the bubbles in an Aero float out of the chocolate, how do you get a runny yolk in a Creme Egg and what chemistry is happening in caramelisation? Why is it safe to eat bacteria in cheese and yogurt but not bacteria in meat? And how can we make sure everyone on the planet has enough to eat?
Food scientists do lots of things: some develop new food products; some test food to make sure it is safe. Some food scientists look at the structure of food and how the chemical and physical nature of food can influence our health. Some look at how we make food more nutritious, and how we can make our food chain more sustainable in the future.
The Food Zone is funded by Wellcome.
A molecule is the smallest amount of a chemical substance that can exist. They are made up of atoms that are stuck together in a particular form. In gases like air, molecules are just flying around. In liquids like water, molecules are stuck together but can still move around, which lets us pour liquids. In solids like sugar, the molecules are stuck together and can only vibrate.
This is a general chemistry zone, where you will meet chemists based in Scotland working in a range of disciplines in chemistry.
The Molecule Zone is funded by ScotCHEM.
All matter is made up of particles, and there are many types of particle. There are atoms which in themselves are incredibly small. An atom contains protons, neutrons, and electrons; which are also particles. Protons, and neutrons are made of quarks, now we’re looking at very small particles indeed; a quark is smaller than 10-19 m across (that’s just 0.000 000 000 000 000 000 1 m). Quarks are subatomic particles, which also include leptons and bosons — we’ve all heard of the Higgs boson.
In this zone you might meet scientists building experiments which are used to discover new particles, such as the Higgs boson. Or they could be working with particle accelerators to diagnose medical conditions, make new discoveries about the universe, or even how to protect our networks from high energy cosmic particles.
The Particles Zone is funded by STFC.
Space Zone – for Primary schoolsWe know the Sun to be the centre of our solar system, just as other stars form the centre of many other solar systems. The Earth and the other planets in our solar system revolve about the Sun. But our sun is on the outskirts of a galaxy called the Milky Way, and the Milky Way is not the only galaxy, and our group of local galaxies is just one of many galaxy clusters… so there’s a lot to keep scientists busy out there.
Scientists in this zone could be designing satellites, telescopes or launchers and analysing their data. Or they might be working to improve our understanding of the universe, sending spacecraft to look at our star, the Sun, or using them to look down and see what’s happening on our own planet.
The Space Zone is funded by STFC.
General Science Zones
General Science Zones take scientists from a range of different research areas. We welcome any type of scientist to apply for these zones, especially people outside a traditional academic research environment; the more diverse the work you’re doing, the better.
Apply now to take part!
Find out more about the activity on the Scientists Information page.
It’s also worth looking at our super helpful advice on your application
If you’re already on our lists, please check your inbox and fill out the survey linked in the email we’ve sent you. If you’re new to our events, click below…
Apply by Friday 24th January. We’ll send an email out soon after you sign up asking which zones and how many classes you would like to bring online.
This March we’ll also be running:
I’m an Engineer Ireland – more information