UCL News


Famelab triple success for UCL

25 May 2006

Three out of the ten 'Famelab' science communication competition finalists are from the UCL community.

Heralded as science's answer to Pop Idol, the finalists will battle it out at the Cheltenham Science Festival on 10 June 2006.

The overall winner will walk away with £2,000, the opportunity to work with a television producer and pitch ideas to Channel 4, and a chance to break the mould of the science 'geek' stereotypes.

Dr Sima Adhya studied her MSc in Space Science at UCL, followed by her PhD in Geomatic Engineering. She now works for QinetiQ as a space mission scientist, on a project to deflect an asteroid, and always dreamt of being an astronaut. She said: "Science gives us new insights and ways to build up our picture of the way things are. With research, you are finding out things that weren't known before. A career in science gives you the potential to change the world."

Davina Bristow is currently taking her PhD in cognitive neuroscience at UCL. Her research has looked at why we don't notice our blinks to the lip reading abilities of two-month-old babies. She said: "When it comes to my own research it's that moment when you finally figure out what your results mean and it all comes together and makes sense that makes all the work worthwhile. In general, I just love finding out why things happen, and how they work."

Dr Sarah Forbes-Robertson took her doctorate at UCL and is now at Swansea Medical School, looking at the way genes are turned on and off in cancer, ageing and development. She is now studying people exposed to radiation after the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986. She said: "I was doing an experiment to look for genes involved in cellular ageing. I tried a shortcut-and it worked! I did a lap of honour of the lab, whooping. I had to drive home in the middle of the night, on my motorbike through freezing fog, thinking: 'If I have an accident, nobody will ever know this thing that I know.'"

All the finalists have made a 99-second podcast for the Channel 4 website, and the public can vote for their favourite finalists until noon on 9 June 2006.