Pint of Science 2021 was slightly different to previous years. Normally, the events would be held in pubs across the country, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was moved to an online format. Over 30 UK cities organised almost 70 live online shows. This year, the city of Exeter hosted three shows: Our Bodies (17th May), Atoms to Galaxies (19th May), and Planet Earth (20th May). All of the shows were one hour long and streamed on YouTube – they were recorded and you can re-watch them, and all the rest of the UK’s Pint of Science shows on their YouTube playlist.
I volunteered for Pint of Science 2020 in the Atoms to Galaxies team, but when our events were cancelled due to the pandemic, I decided to make the move up to a co-ordinator role. I wanted to make sure Pint of Science continued in Exeter and wanted the chance to experience organising such a world-renowned event. My role involved writing applications to Pint of Science HQ for the three shows we wanted to put on, recruiting team members and selecting a lead for our three themes, and supporting the teams as they recruited speakers and planned their programmes. Converting such interactive in-person shows to online versions was challenging but it was great fun to work with all of the teams and witness how creative they were when planning their events. Chryssa and I were keen to make sure we had a wide range of events on offer so allowed all the themes to manage their own event planning, with us taking only a supporting role. This meant we ended up with three very different shows! I particularly like that the Our Body team raised awareness of the specific challenges that homeless women face by including Harriet Earle-Brown, author of Little Miss Homeless, in their programme. It was also great to see the Planet Earth team conduct a Q&A session with Amy Pilsbury, a scientist from Plymouth Marine Laboratory, to allow the public to ask questions about what life as a scientist is really like. I think events like this go a long way to breaking down the stereotype that scientists are all men in lab coats who exclusively do experiments in their day-to-day jobs!
Third year PGRs Conor Price and David Newman were the leaders for the Atoms to Galaxies theme, and final year PGR Lizzie Martin spoke about her research for their event. Yessenia Jauregui-Sanchez, a post-doctoral researcher with CDT supervisor Prof Jacopo Bertolotti also spoke.
David says of his role:
I was co-lead for the Atoms to Galaxies theme, along with Conor. Bridging the gap between cutting-edge
physics and the public is one of my favourite parts of research so getting involved with Pint of Science just made sense. As theme leads, we organised the schedule, arranged rehearsals, oversaw the production team and did so many other jobs that I hadn’t even thought of! I had a great time working with so many talented and like-minded people and I can’t recommend it enough for anyone considering doing Pint of Science next year.