On Wednesday 3 December, Ard Jan Grimbergen, PhD student of molecular genetics at the University of Groningen, won the fifth Science Battle ‘try-out’. During a try-out, four PhD students talk for 10 minutes to a live audience about their research.
‘Another PhD student who’d been involved in an earlier try-out told me about it’, says Grimbergen on the day after his triumph in the Rotterdam Walhalla Theatre. ‘I liked the sound of it’. In Science Battle, PhD students have to entertain a general public for ten minutes about their research project, a format that is reminiscent of
Grimbergen was invited to take part and told the audience about the way bacteria in a single population can nevertheless have different survival strategies. ‘The environment can change, so always following the same route is not the best solution.’ Similar research in Oscar Kuipers’s group, to which Grimbergen belongs,
was recently in the news
During the try-out, the enthusiasm of the audience, the verdict of the audience jury and the vote of the guest of honour (in this case the well-known Rotterdammer
) all counted towards the final result. Grimbergen was the clear victor. Why? ‘The jury thought I was very enthusiastic, and opened their eyes to a world people don’t know exists.’ The prize was a sculpture and a calf’s brain in formaldehyde.
The organizers want
to show that science is not impossible to understand or boring but can produce exciting stories. They offer the participants a brief training course in preparation. The competitive format has been chosen to make the presentations extra exciting. A number of try-outs are planned for next year too, just register
via the site
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