As part of a two-week-long online event that ran in March called “I’m a Scientist, Get me out of Here,” Zechner and other scientists responded to any questions high school students in the UK came up with and posed via a dedicated website. Then, every day of the second week, students get to evict one of the five scientists they’d been talking to.
“Both the scientists and the kids thought it was really fun,” said Sophia Collins, the producer of the competition.
In a much larger version of the competition than the one that Zechner participated in, “I’m a Scientist” is up and running again this month, from June 14th through the 25th. This time 100 scientists will sign in and chat — live and via message posts — with some 8,000 students across the UK. Teams of five scientists, grouped by topics like cancer or genes, interact with 20 classrooms over the course of the competition. Collins ran the event on a smaller scale earlier this year and in 2008. But this month’s event will be “the biggest one yet,” said Collins.