Soapbox Science Cardiff 2017
30 June 2017
After a successful first year CITER was once again delighted to sponsor Soapbox Science when it returned to Cardiff on 10 June with an array of exciting speakers. Despite the weather forecast, the rain held off and a good crowd gathered in front of the Alliance Sculpture in Cardiff city centre to learn about topics ranging from the chemistry of bones to how planets form. Featuring speakers from across Wales the event aimed to highlight the cutting edge research performed by female scientists and inspire a younger generation to follow in their footsteps.
CITER members Dr Alex Shephard (Post-doctoral Research Assistant in the School of Medicine) and Dr Ann Ager (Reader in the School of Medicine) were among the speakers and demonstrated their research on how exosomes drive prostate cancer and the targeting of killer T cells with imaginative methods including beach balls and bubble machines! Other attractions included a working model of a saltmarsh, with the opportunity to generate your own tropical storm, samples of meteorite and the chance to play around with non-newtonian fluids.
Dr Alex Shephard: ‘" I really enjoyed the challenge of explaining my work to the general public and the encouragement to think outside the box in regards to props and how to catch people’s attention. It’s unusual in public engagement to have such mixed audiences, from toddlers to retired scientists and presents a unique challenge. I would strongly encourage anyone interested to get involved next year whether as an organiser, speaker or volunteer".
Dr Ann Ager: "I was told it would be equally scary and exciting to stand on a soapbox and it is true. However, after the first couple of minutes when you have attracted the attention of a few people, and they genuinely seem interested, it all went smoothly. A marble tower game from ToysRUs was a very useful toy to demonstrate killer T cells, blood vessels and cancer. I was even applauded –I didn’t expect this and was quite taken aback! All in all a fun day, but I was completely exhausted by the evening. Must have been the soapbox stage fright!"
Now an international event with events in Germany, Canada and Australia, Soapbox Science is growing fast and offers a great opportunity to discuss your science with the public. With an increased footfall of over 12,000 compared to 9,000 last year Soapbox Science in Cardiff is going from strength to strength and will hopefully return bigger and better next year!