At the beginning of November, 30,000 strange beings descended on the nation's capital. Easily identified by their poster tubes, bags full of all the freebies that vendors had to offer, and speaking a strange impenetrable language only they could understand.
The beings were neuroscientists and the occasion was the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting. As with most scientific conferences, sharing of the latest and most wonderful scientific breakthroughs occur behind closed doors well away from the public that pays for them.
Enter Richard Wingate...
Richard is a neuroscientist at King's College London. He had a dream to bring his fellow researchers away from their posters and traditional powerpoints and in front of an audience curious about what these people do. So he came to the taste of science team to get our help. Not happy with science talks though – he wanted those scientists to make their presentations the best they could be, thus the event became a competition.
We invited #SfN17 attendees from across the nation to team up and battle it out against other neuroscientists. Our taste of science DC hostess-with-the-mostest, Tara Bracken, coaxed in our audience.
We invited in the lovely Caitlin Vander Weele with her take on science outreach in the form of Interstellate – a series of beautiful images curated from neuroscience research.
Then we sat back and let the teams do their thing. With their eyes on the prize, our entrants were NW Noggin from Oregon Health & Science University, Stroke and Stimulate from Johns Hopkins University and last but not least The Neurotics from Weill Cornell Medicine.
The teams were tasked with avoiding jargon, engaging their audience and keeping it fun.
NW Noggin had us learning about genetic mutations through puzzles.
Stroke and Stimulate got the audience in on the act by asking them to play protons.
Just think of your brain as a club. The Neurotics explain the effects of alcohol on the brain.
Then came time for us to calculate the scores for each team
After some number crunching, a round of brain trivia and a quick beer, the results were in.
Congratulations to Stroke and Stimulate, winners of our first ever taste of neuroscience competition!
Both teams and organizers had such a blast that we're already looking forward to the next one. So, see you all again in San Diego?