3-Minute PhD – Explorathon’15

Seasonal Secrets within Seashells

digExplorathon is Scotland’s “European Researchers’ Night” – a Europe-wide initiative to bring research to the public. The scheme is funding by the EU under the Horizon 2020 scheme and aims to celebrate research and share it with members of the public. All subject areas and career stages are encouraged to participate.

In 2015, Explorathon’15 took place across Scotland. In Edinburgh, this included over 58 different activities and events geared toward community engagement and attempts to answer the age old question of  ‘what do researchers really do and why does it matter to me?’ During these events, the public is invited to get involved and participate with research and scientific outputs, and learn from scientists, educators and researchers.

One of these events included a 3-Minute PhD hosted by Dig IT! 2015 at the National Museums of Scotland. I was invited by Dig IT! project manager Dr. Jeff Sanders to participate in the event in which PhD researchers pitch their research to the public in no more than 3 minutes. The topic of my talk was entitled ‘Seasonal Secrets within Seashells’. With it I shared the marvels of how seashells are formed, how we look at their growth lines and the secrets that the chemical profile of shells can reveal about sea surface temperatures, and how that is applied to identify in what season the shellfish were collected.

This was a great opportunity to not only network with other researchers and organizations taking part (i.e. events on data sculpture, visualization, micro-electronics, imaging, volcanoes photogrammetry, storytelling and artcasting) but also to share my love for archaeology with the public. I thank Dig IT! for the opportunity and I look forward to getting involved in more outreach projects in the future!

Image credit: Dig IT! Tv – event coverage 

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