When the opportunity presented itself to apply for I’m a Scientist Get me Out of Here, I was a bit apprehensive… don’t get me wrong, I saw it as an innovative way to promote Forensics21 and the NPIA as a whole; but I never saw myself as the appropriate candidate…. Luckily for me, my managers did.
The agency continually delivers excellent pieces of work for the police forces of England and Wales, even though its future is now limited, and has always endorsed initiatives that allow us to interact with the public and spread a positive message of crime prevention… so I was pleased to do something that would go some way to achieve this goal.
I did however underestimate what taking part would mean to me personally. The organisers and moderators have been fantastically helpful, the children have been amazing with their variety of questions… but most of all, the other scientists have been incredible. You start to get to know scientists from the other zones via Twitter and you develop quite a bond with the scientists within your own zone, especially within the chat environment. You quickly forget that its a competition and help each other in getting the best answers to the questions that you can.
It then hits you on the second week, when the evictions start, what you have let yourself in for. We were quite lucky on the Forensic Zone that we didn’t encounter a forced eviction until the Thursday. This meant we could all take part in all of the scheduled chats.
I have now learned that I am in the final two with Anthropologist Anna. I feel absolutely honoured to be in this position, as it means that I have fulfilled in my mission to engage with the children, so winning would just be a bonus now.
Good luck to all the remaining scientists for tomorrows finale!!
Also the organisers have started to accept registrations for future events, so I would thoroughly recommend that scientists from any discipline to get involved; learn new things about other subjects and yourself; and make new contacts and friends. CLICK HERE FOR REGISTRATION DETAILS
They are also looking for new schools to get involved, so if you are a teacher or know of any who would like to take part in the event.. CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS
It has been just over a week since my last blog, and it has been the craziest week of my life….
HOUSE IS SORTED(ISH)
I have only just moved home. They say its one of the most stressful things that you ever do… and I tend to agree; but at least now I am starting to see the fruits of my labour… and the labour of all my friends and family who have pitched in.
I now have a room resembling an office that I can now feel comfortable in for working from home. Working from home, on the occasions that I am home, is a privilege and a great opportunity for “getting things done”; but it helps if you have the right environment to achieve that… and now I’m there. I just hope that it doesn’t turn out like the scene in Brewsters Millions where at the moment he has everything the way he wanted, it all has to get taken back… so I am going to fight for my job within the NPIA until there is nothing left to fight for (work wise that is).
I’m a Scientist…. but don’t get me out of here yet!
The competition has now entered its second week, which means….. EVICTIONS!!
The first took place today, and I am mighty relieved to still be standing… even if it is on a technicality, as Shane has withdrawn.
Good luck to Shane for the future… and good luck to Craig, Anna and Sue who are all still in the competition with me…. although I hope to stay in as long as I possibly can, as it is a fantastic social experiment, an excellent learning resource for school children…. and incredibly exciting and addictive for the scientists.
One of the schools that are taking part are from Saltash in Cornwall. I told one of the students that I was on Google Street View in Saltash when I was holidaying there. Just to prove it, I am the one in the blue t-shirt in the foreground…
Another wedding anniversary… and wifey still hasn’t dumped me.. Thats progress…
Well in fact… this is progress….
It has become an anniversary tradition that Take That tours near us on the week of our anniversary…. its very kind of them to organise it that way.
On our first anniversary they were performing at The City of Manchester Stadium,and they had only just got back together and were performing their first stadium gigs… so I pulled off the coup of the century and got the Take That boys (well all except for Howard) to sign an anniversary card for my wife, as it was our paper anniversary. I haven’t yet reached those romantic heights in further years, but to get tickets to the concert is difficult enough… as you can see by the fact that we are sitting on the roof of The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
The concert was fantastically staged as usual… but I don’t think lived up to The Circus Tour… don’t get me wrong, I thought it was excellent to get Robbie back in the band, but I thought the compromise of having him having a set whilst only paying lip service to some of Take Thats back catalogue was a little disappointing.
Myself and wifey were then able to dump kiddies on the in-laws on Saturday night to go out for a meal… if anyone is interested, we ate at http://www.fox-and-hounds-inn-llanhari.co.uk/. The place is under new management, who are very friendly and eager to please. The food was of good quality and reasonably priced.
We then tried out one of our local pubs who had an Elvis impersonator on… not quite Take That… very cheesy… but a good night.
I had a very nice fathers day… and considering there will be no further additions to my brood, it was great to see all 5 of them in one day and at one time… the first time that has ever happened.
….And I have been working
I have been incredibly busy with work in the last week, discussing everything fingerprints, but mainly looking into fingerprint issues with the Protection of Freedoms Bill, which is making its way through parliament.
This Bill will have huge implications for fingerprint units in England and Wales, and we are trying to understand what they will be and look at ways to make it easier for forces to implement.
I visitedHarrogate last week and I am currently in a hotel room in Lichfield…
To make things a little more difficult, I have travelled on public transport so that I have been able to take part in the IAS Live Chats.
Travelling is an interesting and enjoyable part of the job, as I was able to take that lovely picture above… but we are about to trial new ways to conduct online meetings and reduce the need to stay away from home as often. You have to love reducing bureaucracy!
Well thats all from me for now, but I hope to be telling you soon how well I have done in I’m a Scientist…
The best thing about this competition is that there is no limit to what can be asked:
From the relevant… how can we know for sure that everyone’s fingerprints are unique? asked by spock11
To the thought provoking… What do tigers dream of, when they take a little tiger snooze? asked by predator
Thats what makes this type of event challenging, unpredicatable and exciting!
Tomorrow sees the first of the chat sessions. The session will involve questions from Year 9 students from Woodkirk High School in Wakefield.
I have been to Wakefield on a number of occasions, as its the home to the Forensic Units of West Yorkshire Police, and I have quite a few friends over there. West Yorkshire have a fantastic reputation, and the Head of their Fingerprint Bureau does a lot of work nationally and internationally.
You know, you really don’t need a forensics team to get to the bottom of this. If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you’d have invented Facebook. (The Social Network)
I finally got around to watching the movie “The Social Network” last week, and was very impressed with the film.
It emphasized to me the power of the internet to create connections, to link information and to promote ideas…. but it is also scary…
With Great Power comes Great Responsibility! (Spiderman)
I am aware that by having my own blog and profiles on other social networking sites it provides me with an opportunity to highlight people, places, things, organisations, events that have or are still having influence in my life… but, it also means that I am leaving myself open for others to challenge my views, correct my mistakes and criticise my beliefs.
I am fine with this, as long as it doesn’t have any adverse effects on my family or professional life.
Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner! (Dirty Dancing)
I do believe that it is better to have a presence and a voice, than to hide away and allow the world to pass you by, and for other people to pass judgement on you without a form of redress.
This is why I promoted the use of Social Media to my bosses at Forensics21 in The NPIA. As The NPIA already have twitter accounts @the_npia and the CEO Nick Gargan tweets as @ngargan_npia, I was already on a winner.
Forensics within the NPIA also launched a new tool that shows how DNA has contributed to crime detection in force areas of England and Wales, and also gives visitors an indication of how many people from their locality are on the National DNA Database:
This is a great idea to get school children enthused with science, and a chance for me to see whether I am as down with the kids as I like to think.
The competition starts properly on June 13th, and I intend to write a daily blog on what happens to give visitors to this site an insight of how the event is progressing.
Another reason to start blogging is that I have a presence on Twitter, @TrickyCase, and now got a few followers…. the problem is, I am not so good at getting my message across in 140 characters, so this blog will allow me to link from my tweets.
The hashtag for I’m a Scientist tweets is #IAS2011