Wow, that was intense! After what seems like hundreds of questions asked and subsequently answered … I won the energy zone and I couldn’t be happier! The last two weeks were so much fun and I was pleasantly surprised with how much you guys were engaged, how insightful your questions were … and also how much you wanted to know if I preferred One Direction or Justin Bieber. As I said in the live chats … I don’t think I could choose between them. They are equal in my mind.
On top of all the scientific questions you asked, of which there were many, the questions which got me thinking the most were those about who and what my work affects. The questions “Who does your work benefit”, “Is your work eco-friendly” came up a lot. I work in biofuels, so hopefully my work should benefit everyone … if indirectly.
The aspect of the last two weeks I enjoyed the most was just getting the chance to talk to you guys. When I was in secondary school when I thought of a scientist the image I got was a bespectacled old man in a musty lab coat playing with test tubes all day. Hopefully we’ve managed to change that and prove to you that we’re actual people with actual lives beyond science … though a lot of us are a bit obsessive about our work.
As I’ve said in my profile, the money which I have won if going to go towards educating those who don’t get the chance otherwise. Which is why I’ll be donating my money to Outreach International, a charity devoted to developing long-lasting change for the better via long-term investments to those people living in poverty. Education is an important cornerstone of this work. The phrase they use to describe their work is “sustainable good”, and it’s something I’m very passionate about.
I’d like to say thank you to a lot of people – firstly to the people running this event. Everything ran really smoothly and they endeavoured to making this a really enjoyable event. To the other scientists in the energy zone, I thank you for providing a really nice environment in the live chats and for encouraging me to get more involved than I originally planned to in the spirit of friendly competition. I’d like the thank the teachers of all the classes involved – I imagine it’s not easy trying to control a classroom of students let loose on computers. And lastly I’d like to thank you guys – the students. None of this would be happening if you weren’t enthusiastic, curious, hungry to learn about science … and I’d just like to properly thank you for making this a truly brilliant and fun experience. If I can, I’ll be taking part again!