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Durham University

Durham Energy Institute

CDT News

CDT Student reaches 3 Minute Wonder Final

(9 June 2016)

Energy CDT student reaches the final of the Institute of Physics Three Minute Wonder Competition.

Congratulations to Francis Ridgeon for his success in reaching the 2016 final of IoP's 3 Minute Wonder, a competition between Physics researchers from across the UK to explain their research quickly and coherently to the public. 

The final took place on 5th May at the Faraday Lecture Theatre of the world famous Royal Institution, whose labs have been the workplace of several eminent scientists and the site of the annual televised Christmas Lectures.

The competition was judged by Maggie Philbin, an executive producer on ‘Bang Goes The Theory’, Fran Scott, Science Presenter on CBBC, Helen Thomas, a BBC science producer, and Marek Kukula, Public Astronomer at Royal Observatory, Greenwich.

After names were drawn out of a hat, Frank was the first participant behind Faraday’s famous desk, presenting his work on 'Measuring the Critical Current' in 3 minutes and answering questions from the audience about the technical aspects and impact of his research. 

The other speakers, junior scientists from around the country, spoke on a variety of topics, from DNA origami, solar power, brazing of metals, and astrophysics. The winner (whose stage presence and confidence were reportedly strong qualities) presented his research in nanowire ending with the often repeated joke, “nanotechnology, it could be the next big thing”. 

Frank's advice for future speakers: try to really just focus on the speculative aspect of the research, as the audience want to know why you are doing your work, and get some props or anything that moves and makes noises, to try to instil wonder!