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Soapbox Science becomes part of Brighton Fringe to celebrate women in STEMM

Twelve scientists will don their white coats on Brighton seafront for the third annual Soapbox Science event, sharing their expertise as part of the Brighton Fringe.

Experts from across the Schools of Life Sciences, Psychology, and Mathematical and Physical Sciences are preparing a selection of interactive talks exploring quantum physics, mathematical modelling, baking and the brain. They’ll be joined on Saturday 1 June by a number of scientists from other institutions and organisations including the European Space Agency and the University of Brighton.

Organiser Dr Katy Petherick, Public Engagement Coordinator in the School of Life Sciences, said: “Each year our speakers display a wonderful array of science on the seafront, with previous talks featuring bee costumes, giant rubber ducks and paddling pools.

“We are especially pleased to be featured as part of Brighton Fringe, helping us to attract an even more diverse audience this year.”

Soapbox Science launched in London in 2011 aiming to celebrate women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths, and Medicine), break down barriers and challenge the image of a typical researcher. The University of Sussex is the host institution for Soapbox Science Brighton, but events are now hosted across the world, with Dr Oyinkan Adesakin, Lecturer in Pharmacology from Sussex Neuroscience, helping to set up the first event in Lagos, Nigeria.

One of the featured 12 speakers is Fiona Scott, a PhD researcher at the Sussex Drug Discovery Centre. She said: “I really enjoyed volunteering at Soapbox last year. It was great to hear about so many different flavours of science and I’m thrilled I’m getting to stand on one of the soapboxes this year to share my love of chemistry and baking with the masses on Brighton seafront.”

Shobita Bhumbra, a PhD researcher in quantum physics at the University of Sussex, said: “I am thrilled with this opportunity to de-mystify quantum physics and show people that this subject can be fun, interesting and cool! Quantum science is underrepresented as a whole in the public domain especially for and by women. My hope is to empower people regardless of background and gender that this subject is not out of reach.”

Soapbox Science will run on Saturday 1 June on Brighton seafront, just west of the i360 from 11am to 2pm. Speakers include:

  • Fiona Scott, Sussex Drug Discovery Centre, University of Sussex, “Medicinal Chemistry vs. BakeOff”
  • Maggie Lieu, The European Space Agency, “Why dark matter matters”
  • Laura Evenstar, University of Brighton, “Why are the Andes SOOooooo crazily, mind boggling High?”
  • Sophie Bashforth, Royal Holloway, University of London, “How particle accelerators can save your life!”
  • Gillian Forrester, Birkbeck, University of London, “Your 500 Million Year Old Brain”
  • Stella Manoli, University of Southampton, “Light my way”
  • Dori Grijseels, University of Sussex, “How your brain knows where you are?”
  • Francesca Hearn-Yeates, University of Sussex, “Antibiotic Resistance in Gonorrhoea!”
  • Aline da Silva Cerqueira, Institute of Zoology of the Zoological Society of London, King’s College London and the London NERC DTP, “The sounds seabirds make at sea and why we should listen to them”
  • Rosanna Barnard, University of Sussex, “Networks: how mathematical graphs can protect us from epidemics”
  • Shobita Bhumbra, University of Sussex, “Quantum Physics – The coolest thing in the universe (…as far as we know)”
  • Daniela Maria Köck, University of Sussex, “Uncovering the dark parts of the universe”

For more information, visit the Soapbox Science website.

By: Stephanie Allen
Last updated: Thursday, 23 May 2019