The first day of the IAS event was today and proved to be a lot of fun. I have been busy with two main tasks for the students, the first being a live chat event. The live chats are text chats where the students post questions and the poor scientists have to try and answer them. The pace is frantic.
My first chat experience involved two of the other scientists from the Iodine Zone and to be honest was total chaos for the first 10 minutes or so. Some of the students saw it as an opportunity to be stupid and their nonsense swamped out the questions from the students who really wanted to talk to us. The IAS moderators got things under control though and then we had some great questions delivered at such a rapid pace that I can hardly remember any of the specifics. I think that the things that interested the students the most were cancer (huge interest in what causes it and how it might be cured) and engineering. Some of them were genuinely interested in careers in science and wanted to know what they needed to do to get there. I think my next chat is on Wednesday so I have time to prepare. It calls for quick typing, quick wits and a good sense of humour.
The other thing that I have been doing is answering the questions posed for me to answer in my own time. These are very varied and I am really enjoying answering them. Things as diverse as ‘what is sodium chloride’, ‘how do you cure cancer’, ‘what can you do when people can’t have a baby’ ‘is racism bad’ and ‘what do you need to do to be a scientist and is it difficult’. I have answered loads to day and it was good to see that some of the people we spoke to in the live chat came back to ask questions offline.
And even better news- some of them have voted for me, even though I am as smiley/youthful/good-looking as some of the other Iodine zoners. Good to see that I am not going to score a duck.