So you want to be a scientist! (Year 10 and 11)

University of Birmingham
Wednesday 6 April 2022 (13:00-15:00)

Year group: 10 and 11 

Subject: Science

Attendee requirements: Open to all, but may be of greater interest to students studying dual award or individual sciences at GCSE.

About: There are often many misunderstandings and misconceptions around scientists. Very few working scientists - if any - fit the common image of a lone, often male, maverick working to invent something of little use or of great harm; the so-called 'mad scientist', beloved of film and television. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Great scientists are creative team players, enjoying the company of others and sharing their ideas widely. They must also be methodical, self-critical and resilient. But above all, they must have an abundance of curiosity and passion for what they do.

In this masterclass, we will use an interactive approach to decide upon a key scientific problem that we would like to solve and then ‘build’ a scientist who could begin to tackle the problem. We will consider the attributes required to enable someone to become a scientist and look to debunk any commonly held prejudices. We will describe the typical working week of a scientist and the ways in which research is funded. The session will also involve data collection and a discussion about how data is analysed, including the importance of reproducibility and replication as well as presentation for other scientists and for wider audiences including the media. We will meet a number of working scientists from the medical school who will describe their work and their journey to becoming who they are today. Students will be encouraged to ask questions and to work in small teams.

At the end of the session, students should be able to appreciate that almost anyone could be a successful scientist,and understand what a career in research involves.

Additional information: School bookings only. Please note you may not be allocated all the places you request depending on availability.

How to book: Booking requests should be made using the relevant booking form on the Masterclasses programme page.

To find out more about any of the masterclasses, please email

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