By Rupa Chandarana, Communications Officer, Biochemical Society
In the beautiful Round Chapel in Hackney with a freezing cold interior and an energetic glow from the presenters, this religious setting is the first event of a new partnership between The Story Collider and the British Science Association. The Story Collider brings true and personal stories about science to life through weekly shows and podcasts and was held during British Science Week – 11-20th March 2016.
Co-founder and Director of The Story Collider, Ben Lille, all the way from New York, kicked off the collider with his own story into science. A physicist and surrounded by scientific minds from a young age, it was incredibly humbling and moving to watch him describe his own late grandfather being underrated for what he had achieved in the field of physics.
Another great story, from Gaia Vince, during her mission to find out more about climate change in Africa captivated the audience with her traumatic journey to Lake Turkana. Surviving against the odds, with her car falling down a hole and being ambushed by African wildlife during a terrifying night in the jungle, she eventually survived and was rewarded by towns, people and most importantly – Lake Turkana.
Similarly we had our own real life cast away, Henry Duffy, on one of the world’s most remote places on earth – the Pitcairn Islands. Cut off from reality, and scared by the prospect of island life, this conservationist captivated us with stories of whales swimming past the island whilst he collected data for his spreadsheet!
Painting a nuclear submarine
My favourite story had to be by Steve Crabtree, Editor of the BBC TV programme Horizon. Brought up in Furness with no qualifications to his name, he made a living by painting ships and reading comics. Comics and his love of film were at the heart of his desire to work in television. The combination of reading a New Scientist article on Aliens and studying art in Carlisle, developed a real love for filmmaking and drama. After earning some work experience at the BBC, he managed to wow the former editor with his life story – it was in fact the telling of his very own life story that inspired the BBC Editor for Horizon to give Steve a job! He has now worked for the BBC for 19 years, and is successfully the Editor for Horizon.
It’s your story
So whether you are stuck in the wilderness in Africa, learning about the planet on a remote island or painting ships whilst reading New Scientist, at the end of the day, it will become your scientific story which is part of you and ultimately makes you who you are. Science doesn’t have to be in the lab, science can be part of your story too.