How are we able to draw a circle in the air with our eyes closed? Ian Stewart’s answer to this question won him the FameLab regional heat in Dresden, which took place in March 2020 before a live audience. The PhD student in the Neural Circuits and Behavior Lab of Professor James Poulet has chosen to explain the phenomenon of proprioception – that is, our ability to sense the position, posture and movement of our bodies in physical space.
“In Dresden I concentrated on the basics. But in the Germany final I will place proprioception in a larger context and provide examples of why our work is important for neurobiology and psychology,” Stewart reveals. He has even received extra training to prepare for the final: The winners and runners-up of the FameLab regional heats – there are five such contests across Germany – not only qualify to compete in the national final, but can also attend a media training masterclass to hone their science communication skills. This year the masterclass was held online, and the final will also be streamed live over the internet. “I have a recorded a video of my talk that will be broadcast, along with the talks of the other participants, on May 14,” Stewart says.
FameLab, which this year is being held in Germany for the tenth time, is organized by the British Council. It is touted as the world’s biggest science communication competition and involves researchers from all over the world explaining their work in a dynamic and engaging way. More than 5,550 scientists and engineers from 30 countries took part in the 2019 FameLab contests, which were watched live or online by more than a million people. A panel of judges chooses the winners, evaluating the three-minute talks on content, clarity and charisma. The overall national winner will represent Germany at the FameLab International final, which is scheduled to take place in the UK in October 2020.
The FameLab Germany final, featuring Ian Stewart and eight other contestants, will be streamed online at Facebook on May 14, 2020, starting at 6 p.m., at.
Text: Wiebke Peters