Two Stony Brook graduate students — Colin West and Steven Jaret — will compete in the FameLab USA 2016 National Finals at the Carnegie Institute for Science in Washington, DC, on May 13. FameLab is a contest that challenges early career scientists to discuss their research engagingly for a general audience. Participants must create a three-minute, powerpoint-free talk on their research or a related topic and deliver it in a supportive environment to judges who give only constructive feedback.
Stony Brook University PhD candidate in neuroscience Lyl Tomlinson won the national competition in 2014 and traveled to the International Final at the Cheltenham Science Festival in June 2014 where he was chosen as a runner up. The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science and the Graduate Student Organization hosted a regional heat of FameLab in April 2015 at the Wang Center. Tomlinson hosted the Stony Brook event and awarded the regional winning title to West.
West, a doctoral candidate in Stony Brook’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, has had a busy year. He competed on his all-time favorite game show, Jeopardy!; completed and defended his dissertation; and soon will represent Stony Brook in the FameLab national finals.
Read the Graduate School’s Q&A with West and learn more about his Jeopardy! experience and his work in quantum information theory.
Jaret, a doctoral candidate in Stony Brook’s Department of Geosciences, has been a professional science communicator since high school, when he started leading planetarium shows at Atlanta’s Fernbank Science Center. Now a founding member of Graduates for Education and Outreach, he leads science courses and demonstrations. He’s also an active member of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science where he co-hosts the weekly web broadcast Science Unplugged LIVE.
Read the Graduate’s School Q&A with Jaret to learn more about his research with Timothy Glotch and Dr. Troy Rasbury.
You can watch a livestream of the competition on May 13.
FameLab was set up in 2005 by Cheltenham Festivals in partnership with the UK’s National Endowment for Science, Technology, and the Arts to find and nurture scientists and engineers with an interest in communicating with public audiences. Since 2007, via a partnership with the British Council, FameLab has gone global, with competitions now held in more than 20 countries across Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and North America.
Globally more than 4,000 researchers have taken part. The result is a network of exciting scientists and engineers engaging international audiences but also engaging with each other, broadening each other’s views of what it means to be working in science right now.
In 2012, Cheltenham Festivals signed an agreement with NASA to run FameLab for the first time in the United States. Since then, more than 200 early career scientists have participated in the US.