Science Slammers at SciFest Africa

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Monday, 3rd March 2014

You probably believe that your research is worth shouting about, but is anyone out there listening? You have invested long years of study and hard work into your research but do you sometimes wish that more people understood the significance of your efforts?

You may soon have a perfect opportunity to explain your work to a mixed audience of around 200 people at one of three Science Slams planned for Scifest Africa in Grahamstown this March. The German Embassy in Pretoria has put out a call for ‘science slammers’ to strut their stuff at Scifest Africa from 12 to 18 March, 2014.

Researchers, or “slammers”, are expected to present their own research linked to this year’s theme - “Into the space...” where the concept of ‘space‘ is used broadly to include inter-galactic space, the tiniest nanotechnology space or an everyday parking space as well as all the in-between spaces. This means that science slammers need only align their own head-space to make a good impression.

A Science Slam is a relatively new concept where scientists and graduate students are invited to explain their research to an audience of non-experts. Presenters have to keep within strict limits – usually ten minutes – and are required to explain their innovations without the usual jargon. This can be incredibly challenging for scientists because they struggle to compress years of complicated research into a mere ten minutes.

Each presentation should be informative, accessible and inspiring so that a mixed audience of students, scientists and interested members of the public will be able to understand your research topic and leave the Science Slam excited about your work.

After the presentations audiences assess and rate performances based on a set of criteria, which include the scientific content, as well as the communication and performance skills of the "slammer". A great science slam is a creative balance of good science and inspiring entertainment.

The Science Slam concept was based on ‘Poetry Slams’ and developed in Germany in 2006. The first Science Slam in South Africa took place at the Sci Bono Discovery Centre in Newtown in October 2013.

Scifest Africa science slammers will have the opportunity to refine their presentation skills under professional guidance at a preparatory workshop on Tuesday, March 11(on site) to ensure that presentations are informative and entertaining.

Slammers will also enjoy complementary access to the entire SciFest.

Limited travel and accommodation costs will be covered and the winner will receive a prize at the end of the final “Science Slam” on the Friday.

If you are either a student or researcher based in South Africa and would like to present your research topic during the Science Slams @ SciFest 2014 in Grahamstown, please send a concise CV, a brief outline of your research topic and your presentation concept to Maja Clausen by 14 February, 2014.

For more information please contact: Maja Clausen at the German Embassy Pretoria:

Tel: (0)12 427 8934, eMail: maja.clausen@diplo.de

For more information about SciFest Africa visit their website (www.scifest.org.za).

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