This summer, the UK’s leading female scientists will once again transform the South Bank into a stage for scientific discovery and debate for the fourth year of Soapbox Science.
Come rain or shine, a dozen scientists will take to their soapboxes to discuss their cutting-edge research with the public. Founded at ZSL in collaboration with L'Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science, Soapbox Science follows the format of Hyde Park’s famous Speaker’s Corner. The event goes nationwide for the first time this year, with the London event taking place on Sunday 29 June.
The scientists will bring their research out from their laboratories and onto the streets to engage in lively debate with everyone from shop workers on their lunch breaks to families and tourists. From levitating trains to visiting Mars, and how maths can help control infectious diseases, the speakers will demonstrate the relevance of science to our everyday lives.
Dr Sarah Durant from ZSL, who is speaking at the event, says: “As a conservation scientist, I believe it is important to communicate my research to a wide audience, as public engagement is key to solving many problems in wildlife conservation.
“Soapbox Science presents me with a unique opportunity to introduce passers-by on the South Bank to my research on cheetahs, which takes place more than 4,000 miles away in the Serengeti.”
The event will see scientists throw away the stuffy lecture theatre stereotype in favour of a few props and a wooden soapbox. They will have one hour to draw in a crowd, explain the ins and outs of their research and take questions from the audience.
Last year saw more than 1,000 members of the public cluster around the soapboxes, learning about subjects ranging from cancer to climate change.
The event is co-organised by ZSL’s Dr Nathalie Pettorelli and the University of Bristol’s Dr Seirian Sumner, fellows of The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science programme which is sponsoring the London event.
Dr Nathalie Pettorelli says: “We are delighted to be bringing the event to London for the fourth year in a row.
“Scientists don’t all look like Einstein. Soapbox Science is about providing role models for the many girls and women that want to pursue a career in science. Science is the future of our economy, and women are key players in assuring its success.”
The London Soapbox Science event will take place on the 29 June 2014, 12-3pm, London’s South Bank.