FameLab Welsh National Final

If you haven’t heard of FameLab… why not?! FameLab is a science communication competition designed to engage and entertain. Sounds great right?

I am an advocate for all things involving science communication! The FameLab competition has some very simple yet vital rules. You have only three minutes to present on a topic of your choice using only props that you can carry on to the stage. The competition is judged on the three ‘C’s’: Content, Clarity and Charisma!

When I saw the competition advertised, I thought why not give it a shot! I took part in the Regional Heats at the beginning of February 2019 at the Waterfront Museum Swansea. All of the contestants were fortunate to have a training masterclass from the amazing Becky Holmes from Science Made Simple. After the training we refined our pitches and the competition began! The thing I found most interesting were that the talks were incredibly varied, topics included; breasts, the evidence behind the claims made on shampoos and why science is made from mistakes! I decided to create a giant cardboard eukaryotic cell to explain how our genetic information is stored.

Famelab Cell
Here I am with my giant eukaryotic cell – complete with DNA being pulled out of the nucleus (For the more eagle eyed the orange part is a Golgi apparatus rather than a Wi-Fi symbol!).

After a tense but entertaining interlude with bubble magic and the physics behind balloons the judges were back with their decision! I was through to the Welsh Final with four other incredible science communicators. I was really chuffed – what a great experience!

Before I knew it the Welsh final was upon me! After the first round I had vowed to spend more time on my presentation for the final. The sad reality was that lots of other things got in the way and unfortunately this meant that I was up quite late the night before the final sewing fairy lights on to a cuddly neuron and getting acquainted with the dynamics of a bubble gun!

I decided to talk about the cells of the brain – neurons and how they send messages to each other through the process of neurotransmission. Ably assisted by Nelly the Neuron I was able to demonstrate action potentials and how we might be able to treat brain diseases such as Parkinson’s disease by transplanting brain cells.

Nelly the neuron complete with magical fairy lights to demonstrate the process of neurotransmission.

The Welsh final was tense. The competitors were great and the judges agreed that it was a really tough call (I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to be in their shoes!) but after some deliberations… I was announced as THE WELSH WINNER!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was delighted to have won, particularly given my fight with the sewing kit and the bubble gun. It was amazing to be among such brilliant science communicators and although I am happy to have won I am a bit sad that we can’t all go through to the final!

So now I am off to the UK Final of FameLab! The prize includes a masterclass and a slot at the UK final in June, so I had better get planning my next three minute pitch. I really hope that I can do Wales proud, I will keep you all updated on my progress!

FameLab 2
Proudly holding my winners certificate with runner up Ed Dibley

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