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DPhil student voted school pupils' top scientist

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Jonny Brookes-Bartlett has won the ' I'm A Scientist Get Me Out Of Here' science outreach competition.

Jonny, a DPhil student on the Systems Biology DTC, took part in the competition over two weeks in June. The free online event allows school students around the UK to meet and interact with scientists, and vote for their favourite scientist at the end.

Jonny explains what was involved: 'I was against four other scientists in my zone, which was a general science zone. For the two weeks, we answered questions from the students. There were 446 active students from 12 schools around the UK and nearly 500 questions were answered over that period. Myself and another scientist answered over 250 questions each.'

'As well as answering students' online questions, we also had to take part in live chats. Each of these lasted for 30 minutes and consisted of a class from a particular school asking questions to the scientists in a chat room-like environment. They were really intense because more questions were coming in than I could answer, but it was really fun.'

'The questions really varied, from, "why do we dream?" to, "what's at the end of a black hole?" I was asked about how maths and coding relate to proteins and why I use X-rays. Then there were questions about whether I liked cats or dogs, and whether McDonald's was better than Burger King!'

'In the second week, the scientist with the least votes was "evicted", the votes were reset, and we started again. A scientist was evicted each day until on Friday, there were just two of us left - Paul Brack, a chemist at Loughborough University, and myself.

'I eventually won and received a prize of £500 to do a public engagement activity. I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to do with the money, but I'm going to try to organise something with the British Crystallographic Association's Young Crystallographers Group which I'm currently Vice President of.'

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