The countdown is over. Last friday, December 6th, FameLab was introduced to Sweden.

FameLab is the science communication competition where brave and passionate nerds attempt to convey a complex scientific message in three minutes. Any trick is allowed, even gigantic glasses.

Andrew Steel 2012. from FameLabUK

The competition was created at Cheltenham Sci Festival, that ever since 2005 has hosted the international final, where FameLabbers from more then 20 countries participate.

international finalists at Cheltenham Sci Fest 2013. credits: Ch.Sci.Fest

And Sweden? Surprisingly, no one of the Scandinavian countries have yet entered the show. It’s ok guys, you got so enthusiast for Eurovision that… you may have missed this.

But the holdup has come to an end: in collaboration with the British Embassy and the British Council in Sweden, three awesome FameLabbers from UK came to Stockholm, who, together with me, made the kick-off of FameLab in the country.

The occasion was the event INNOVATION IS GREAT organized by the UK Embassy to celebrate Peter W. Higgs (and the over 70 other UK Laureates) with a scientific exhibition at Konserthuset, in the heart of Stockholm.

From the Embassy website:

During INNOVATION IS GREAT, the public will have a great opportunity to learn more about the importance of today’s science and how it will be shaping tomorrow’s future. IVF pioneer, Professor Lord Robert Winston, will conclude the day alongside spokesperson of the ATLAS Collaboration at CERN, Professor David Charlton, and some of Europe’s best science communicators – the FameLabbers, in a public seminar event designed to inspire the next generation of Nobel-winners.

UK Comedian, Quentin Cooper will continue as host, facilitating a fun, engaging and educational feast for scientists and curious minds alike!

The exhibition has seen students form Durham University showing dark matter with 3D screens, patients from the Scottish company Touch Bionic shacking their robotic hands with the public, and Tekniska Museet presenting the 100 best scientific innovations chosen by a survey among Swedish citizens.

Everything was glued together by British Embassy volunteers and the FameLabbers: Elspeth Kenny, Marieke Navin, Andrew Steele and myself embraced the difficult task to invite people to see the exhibition, and entertain the public.

FameLabbers in action. pict @lisamarieke

But I might say that the gigantic (birds) eggs brought by Elspeth, the non-exploding balloons of Marieke, the cereal boxes spectrometers of Andrew and my medical questions did a good job.

the cerial box spectrometer – idea @statto; pict @lisamarieke
How much people know about genome sequencing? pict: @lisamarieke
FameLab explained. pict: @riccardoguidi87
Andrew with his FameLab-winning performance on 3D glasses. pict: @riccardoguidi87

At the end, finally, the show!

In a plenary session, hosted by the presenter Quentin Cooper, the public followed a (very) detailed explanation of what the hell are 3.000 scientists doing at CERN, where Prof. David Charlton has worked for years one of the project that demonstrated the existence of the Higg’s Boson.

David was followed by Lord Robert Winstonin vitro fertilization researcher and popular science communicator in the UK, who [.ppt-free] triggered questions form the audience about human genetic manipulations, and challenged the boundaries of today science potentiality.

Alternating the big stars, FameLabbers did their best to edu-tain the audience with three minutes of sexy science, from particle physics to the blue footed Boobi (don’t you know what is it?! REALLY?).

Marieke with an introduction on the LHC
Andrew with a sticky trick explains the effects of the Higg’s boson
Riccardo and his sugar-box with electrons ready to jump out
Elspeth dances like Boobies!

Now that we gave a taste to Sweden of what FameLab is about, the British Council is getting ready to export the competition in Stockholm, the starting-point city of what we hope became an unstoppable desire to communicate science throughout Sweden.

I renovate my call to action: we are still looking for volunteers to organize the first round of selection, in Stockholm, by the beginning of 2014.

Drop me an email, a tweet, a comment or anything else if you wanna be part of the movement!

from left [informally]: Lord Bob (IVF expert and sci communicator), Statto, Marieke, Quentin (journalist and presenter), Els, Paul (UK Ambassador in Stockholm), me, Prof David (ATLAS project at CERN). Pict @lisamarieke
See you all soon.

One Response

  1. This is a great idea! Maybe competitions like these can inspire people to become science communicators in the future. Even if they don’t, this is still a great way of breeding creativity in science communication.

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