As part of my passion in sharing animal behaviour with the world, this summer I participated in an awesome initiative called: “I’m a Scientist: get me out of here!”. This event aims to put in direct contact scientists and students. As a scientist you get assigned a themed area (mine was animal behaviour of course) where you can create an online profile with information about yourself and your job. During the event itself, that last around 10 days if I recall correctly, you get to interact online with school students, answering their questions about science, research, and just about everything else. You may get any question from “what is the meaning of life” (tip: you cannot quote Monty Phyton with students!) to “can you pet dolphins?”. Students can ask, chat, and vote for the scientist they think has best talked about their subject area and work. The most voted scientist get to win £500 to spend on science communication. I didn’t won but I had so much fun! It was challenging to explain complicated theory in few simple words and some of questions were so advanced I had to looked it up myself. However it does remind you why you enjoy this work so much, by putting the research in perspective. Finally away from the stress of peer reviewed publications, that mostly come down to how good you mathematical model fit you data, you may enjoy the plain and simple descriptive ethology that fascinated me so much when I was at University. I also get to know some colleagues that work on ethology pure and applied research. It was the perfect chance to exchange ideas and information with some peers. Especially since scientists are usually secluded in small windowless rabbit hole, also called offices, and have few changes to share experiences and opinions, even less in an informal setting as it was this event.
I highly recommend my colleagues to participate as well. These events occur on a regular basis, you can attend from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection and it doesn’t take too much of your time. Especially because you have fun in doing it and you may find out that you actually look forward to you evening to get the chance of answering some challenging and inspiring questions.
And I also received a shiny certificate and a mug 😛