Three Minute Wonder competition returns

25 November 2015

This year saw the return of the IOP’s Three Minute Wonder competition. The East Midlands event, generously hosted by Loughborough University, was witness to presentations by five very talented young PhD students from Leicester, Loughborough and Sheffield universities.

Three Minute Wonder competition returns

A prestigious judging panel was assembled, taking expertise from education and industry. This panel comprised Steve Walley, a physicist at Rolls-Royce, Michael Cropper, a lecturer at Loughborough University, Phil Newman, a teacher at Ashby school and Manisha Mistry, Loughborough University School of Science marketing and events.

Entrants were given a three-minute slot in which to present their research. During this they were only permitted to use one PowerPoint slide but as many props as they wished; a daunting task, but the East Midlands candidates made it look easy.

The event started with a presentation from Timothy David, who explained his research with the University of Leicester into space weather and how this can affect the modern technology we engineer and use on Earth. This proved very thought-provoking and prompted many questions from judges. Next, the audience were treated to an overview of the research conducted by Maria-Theresia Walach, also from the University of Leicester. She detailed the implications of interactions between the magnetospheres of the Sun and the Earth. A change of pace came in the form of Aisha Al Salmi’s presentation into the inconsistencies in exam and report marking at universities and schools, she offered her research into a flexible SQL environment as a possible solution to this problem. Adam Lloyd from Loughborough University followed with an insight into his research, which is essential to the production of more energy efficient windows in buildings. He showed the captivated audience how he uses computer simulations in his work. Finally, Doris Benda delivered her presentation into the improvement of solar cell efficiency as a means to use these in hot countries to purify water, this was very well received and earned Doris the winning spot at this year’s East Midlands IOP Three Minute Wonder Competition.

Adam Lloyd was the runner-up. Both Doris and Adam will go on to the grand final in London next year where they will compete against winners from the other IOP branches for the top spot.

Many congratulations to Doris and Adam and thanks go to the entrants, judges and Loughborough University for hosting.