By Jay Stone, on 12 June 2010
The famelab international competition gives enthusiastic early career scientists a forum and opportunity to take centre stage and demonstrate their passion in a challenging 3-minute time slot.
We had a whole range of topics being covered ranging from the big bang, alien hand syndrome, enzyme catalysts and the ‘red queen’ effect.
The audience sat riveted for 2hrs listening to everyone’s presentations and sometimes painful grillings from the judging panel. After each contestant had been suitably prodded and probed about their 10 year career plans and their scientific integrity had been checked by Mark Lythgoe the audience were asked to vote for their favourite.
A 10-minute interval enabled the scores to be counted and the judges to reach their own decisions about the famelab top 3 (it also gave host Quentin Cooper a chance to check the England match scores… not such good news considering we were winning when the famelab event started). We were then called back to our seats where we waited for the results….
The audience winner was snail lover Ivana Strazic from Croatia, her topic of choice was snail mating which she demonstrated incredibly with the aid of some white gloves and hand mimicking motions… I’ll leave you to imagine the scene.
Mark Lythgoe then stepped forward to announce the judges top 3…
In third place came 26 year old Hazem Shoirah representing Eygpt. His talk discussing brain anatomy had ended in a demonstration of his left hand undressing him in an alien hand rendition… thank goodness he ran out of talking time otherwise we could of had the full monty on our hands!
In second place came audience winner Ivana Strazic, I am sure glove sales and hand puppetry is going to see a boom in Cheltenham over the next few weeks!
And finally in true X-factor, incredibly drawn out fashion Mark announced Vasilis Grigoriadis from Greece as the top place winner. Vasilis had chosen to tell us all about his failed attempt to chat up a girl with his knowledge of nebulas and iron formation, might not work on the women but it certainly won the judges over and Vasilis now walks away International Famelab champion and the proud owner of an i-Pad. Well done Vasilis!