Duncan explains the idea behind Not Exactly Rocket Science:
When you apply to take part in I’m a Scientist: Get Me Out of Here (and you should), one of the questions they ask is what you’ll do with the winnings. The winnings in this case are £500 to be spent on a public engagement activity that ideally involves you the scientist doing something interesting for the public to engage with. Given that I was applying to the competition because it sounded like a fun way to spend a fortnight, I was briefly stumped by the question.
I looked around the office for inspiration and alighted on my friend Dominic, and thought of all the interesting conversations we had had with people after the Research in Progress presentations held at the MRC Centre for Inflammation Research at the University of Edinburgh on a Friday afternoon. The complexity of those conversations was less than that of the presentations, primarily because neither of us is a medical researcher, or even a biologist, so we would mostly struggle during the presentations and ask for clarification afterwards.
This seemed like a perfect bit of engagement, even if the people being engaged with were Dominic and me. As for including other people in your conversations, isn’t that what podcasting is? And so the idea for Not Exactly Rocket Science was born, and hopefully it’s doing its job, of being in depth enough to be interesting (because of our wonderful guests) and simple enough to understand (because of our own ignorance of the subjects at hand).
In my head, anyone with an interest in science can understand these ideas as well as we can, so I’d encourage anyone with an interest in science to listen in. We’ve even roped in some more of our colleagues to explain things when we’re confused again listening back.
It turns out that I was right about I’m a Scientist being a fun way to spend a fortnight, and making the podcast has been a fun way to spend time since then.
Long may it continue!
Not Exactly Rocket Science on iTunes
I’m a Scientist: Get Me Out of Here! – Duncan’s profile
Duncan McNicholl – Research Profile
Dominic Norberg – Research Profile
University of Edinburgh Centre for Inflammation Research
Centre for Inflammation Research ‘Research in Progress’ lecture series
Duncan’s personal website