Loughborough academic wins national “I’m a Scientist” competition
Dr Laura-Anne Furlong, a Vice-Chancellor’s Lecturer in Biomechanics at Loughborough's School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, has been voted a winner in the national “I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here!” competition.
The X-Factor style competition and its sister event “I’m an Engineer…” are national competitions which allow school students from across the UK to engage with engineers and scientists.
Entrants for “I’m a Scientist…” were selected on how clearly they described their research work in one sentence to a primary and high school demographic.
Laura-Anne competed in the Sports Science Zone category which is sponsored by The Wellcome Trust and the Physiological Society. Her research focused on how muscles and tendons behave during activities such as walking and running, with applications in injury prevention and rehabilitation.
Students from across 60 schools asked the scientists a wide range of science and sports science-specific questions such as ‘why do your muscles get bigger when you exercise?’ and ‘how can I recover faster after doing lots of exercise?’ as well as many questions about science as a career choice.
Questions were submitted through online live chats and forums. Based on the answers given, participants were voted off through an X Factor style format.
Laura-Anne fought off tough competition and was crowned the winner by the students. As part of her award win, she will receive £500 to communicate her research to the public.
Laura commented: "It’s been a fantastic two weeks chatting to all the students and answering all sorts of general and sports science related questions. I’ve really enjoyed it and I hope I’ve inspired some future scientists. I’m delighted to have won and can’t wait to put the prize money to use getting more students interested and involved in science from a young age.
"I’m planning to use the prize money to bring students onto campus to see what sport scientists do ‘in real life’, and create online resources for those further afield which show not all scientists wear white coats and use conical flasks – there are lots of opportunities in science and many they can explore at home or in their own school."
PhD student Katy Griggs who competed alongside Laura-Anne in the Sports Science Zone also reached the final stages of the competition. PhD research student Sarah Hampson who took part in sister competition “I’m an Engineer…” was a part of the final round in her field.
Further information on ‘I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out Of Here” is available at http://imascientist.org.uk/.