A barrage of three-minute science speeches for Jerusalem's FameLab competition
Thanks to the greater community of Her Majesty's civil servants, Jerusalem's Bloomfield Science Museum is gearing up to host FameLab, an initiative which provides a soapbox for young scientists, for a fifth time this May.
FameLab began in England in 2005 and has since spread throughout the world. At the FameLab manifestation in Jerusalem, scientists under the age of 36, with undergraduate degrees in science, are given the opportunity to present to a panel of judges a scientific concept - in three minutes or less. Accuracy and charisma are paramount.
Yarden Dody, who coordinates FameLab for Bloomfield, tells GoJerusalem.com, "Science students often experience a gap between academia and field work -
they don't know how to convey their information to a wider public,
which is what FameLab is trying to do. The students must convey their
information, in three minutes, in a manner which everyone can understand
- it has to be interesting enough for professionals but clear enough
for the layman to understand."
The marathon of elevator pitches for geeks was brought to Israel by the British Council, an organization with growing reach. Over a dozen nations - including Azerbaijan, Egypt, Serbia and Hong Kong - have their own versions of FameLab, with regional champions winning trips to the finals in England.
The 2011 Israel competition's Jerusalem round takes place on May 11th at the Bloomfield Science Museum, with similar competitions taking place at the Technion in Haifa and the Hemda Centre for Science Education in Tel Aviv. Three finalists then take part in the Israel finals in Tel Aviv. In Jerusalem, the four judges represent a wide array of science interests - one is from academia, one is an engineer at Intel, and one works on a science television show. A representative from the Bloomfield Science Museum will serve as the fourth judge.
"FameLab allows students with a science background to present their research," says Dody. "The event is free and open to the public, which can listen to three-minute science lectures on a very impressive level."
While the community of up-and-coming scientific thinkers is certainly the primary target market, a wider variety of enthusiasts can be found attending the events. "The audience is mostly the friends and family of presenters [but also includes] university retirees," Dody asserts. "It gives the students the opening to present their work to a wide public and professionals in the field of science."
As for the contestants, if last year's competition is any indication, the Holy City holds its own in the world of science. Last year, Jerusalemites won first and second place in the national competition.
Photos of FameLab 2010 courtesy of Sivan Shachor.
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