Matthew Malek wins in Light Zone of I’m a Scientist Get Me Out of Here

21 March 2014

School students have chosen Matthew Malek as the winner in the Light Zone of the I’m a Scientist Get Me Out of Here competition today.

The IOP sponsored the zone, one of 13 in an online X-Factor style contest that aims to engage secondary school students by encouraging them to ask questions of real scientists. Students have live online chats with scientists and vote to decide who stays in the competition and who is eliminated over a two-week period.

Five scientists answered questions in the Light Zone that ranged from “what caused the Big Bang?” and “where does light go when it enters a black hole?” to “how do we know that light travels in a straight line?” and “where was the coldest place you have ever done an experiment?”. Matthew, a research associate in the High Energy Physics Group at Imperial College London, emerged as the winner and will receive £500 to spend on science communication.

He said: “It was great fun being one of the Light Zone scientists for the past two weeks. The students had so many excellent questions, and it’s fantastic to talk to so many bright young curious minds. I’m a big believer in science outreach, and I'm a Scientist was one of the most enjoyable outreach projects that I’ve been involved with.

“Besides interacting with the students, I also met one of the other Light Zone scientists (Sabina Hatch) for lunch, which was very interesting as we work in such different parts of the field. Of course, the main reason to take part was for the students. Even so, I’m very pleased to have been the ‘last scientist standing’ in the Light Zone. I’m looking forward to using the prize money for further outreach efforts. Many thanks to the Wellcome Trust for funding I'm a Scientist… and especially to the IOP for supporting the Light Zone.”

Along with Sabina Hatch, the other three scientists in the Light Zone were Mike Lee (the runner-up), Paul Coxon and Mark Jackson.

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