Are you a scientist?

— All spaces for this event have been filled!—

However, if you’d like to take part in our I’m a Scientist March 2014 event, please sign up over here.


Discuss Life Fantastic, online

Every year hundreds of thousands of people tune in to watch the Royal Institution CHRISTMAS LECTURES®. This year’s Life Fantastic theme will raise many more questions beyond the lecture titles: Where do I come from? Could I live forever? Am I a mutant?

The award winning online science engagement event, I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here (IAS), is teaming up with the Royal Institution to extend the CHRISTMAS LECTURES® discussion, by giving everyone the opportunity to have their burning questions on the Life Fantastic answered by developmental biologists, online.

Life is fantastic and full of questions, and we’re looking for scientists to answer them. Can you help?

How does it work?

The CHRISTMAS LECTURES® will be aired on BBC4 over the festive period. Over the following 5 weeks, throughout January 2014, people can put their questions to the scientists. The site will be promoted to the public and school students through IAS and the RI.

Each week there will be a different mix of five scientists to answer the questions. Scientists during their ‘active’ week will interact online in two ways: through questions (like this), and through live chat. Scientists can answer the questions whenever and wherever suits them. Usually people tell us they spend between 30 minutes and 2 hours doing this, depending on how busy they are. This will be using a simple web interface, much like sending an email. The live chat will be moderated by IAS staff, and works in a similar way to instant messaging. It runs for about 30 minutes and is scheduled during school hours.

Why take part?

This online forum allows a deeper discussion around the CHRISTMAS LECTURES topics; scientists see what questions and concerns the public have around developmental biology, and the public have the opportunity to explore the topics raised in much greater depth.

For scientists it’s a great way to practice communication skills. The format helps you hone your messages and work out the best ways to explain your work to a wide audience, but in a flexible format designed to work around your availability.


If you take part you’ll be ‘live’ on the site for one week (or two weeks if you’ve got lots of time) out of the five. You’ll answer questions and take part in live chats with the schools. We expect the time commitment will be around 45 minutes to an hour a day, and won’t take up more than two hours a day, for the week or two when you are ‘live’. And as it’s online you can answer questions whenever and wherever you happen to be.

Next steps

If you can help out email a few details about you to Please include where you work, your availability in January and a couple of sentences summarising your research and how it relates to the Life Fantastic theme.

We’ll start confirming the scientists taking part in November. Every scientist will have an online profile (with picture and short bio) and we’ll allocate which weeks the scientists will be ‘live’ in, depending on your ability. If you want to know more please give us a call on 01225 326892.

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