Former Buchan pupil to represent... Switzerland!

Jennifer Fowlie
Jennifer Fowlie
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Former pupil of New Deer Primary School and Mintlaw Academy, Jennifer Fowlie (23), has reached the semi-finals of possibly the world’s greatest international science competition – Famelab.

The 2014 semi-finals take place in Cheltenham at the beginning of June, with the final streamed live on the 6th.

A graduate of St Andrews, Jennifer is currently studying for a PhD in Physics at the University of Geneva, and she thought it would be good fun to enter this prestigious competition.

Contestants are given just three minutes to convey a science based theory to a non-scientific audience.

They are expected to excite and entertain the audience – using only the props they can carry on stage.

The competition is all about effective communication, and making science, technology, engineering and maths, accessible – and fun.

Jennifer’s first talk was entitled “The mathematics of rivers”, and took place in April at CERN (the European Centre for Nuclear Research.) She was surprised and delighted to make it to round two, which was scheduled for Zurich at the beginning of May. In this round she chose to explain “How mathematics can save your life”, and her prop in this instance was a plasticine model of a Cicada with LED eyes.

Twenty-four countries will compete in Famelab at Cheltenham this year. Twelve contestants will take part in two semi-finals, with only five from each progressing to the final.

On the 6th she will need to use charm and charisma to deliver three minutes of science in style. This will be streamed live to a worldwide audience between 8.30 and 10.15pm.

Jennifer explained: “One of the major challenges for scientists is not to bore people. It’s far too easy to use jargon that no-one really understands.”

Obviously it would be good if she could make it through to the final, but that means she will have another presentation to prepare.

She continued: “It has been quite a steep learning curve for me, but the whole experience has been a positive and challenging one.”

The ultimate winner of the competition will be selected by a panel of judges, but there is also an on-line vote winner, and an audience vote winner.