Judith Urlings third in the Limburg preliminary of the Science Battle May 10, 2016
Yesterday, four PhD-students of Hasselt University battled for a place in the finals of the Science Battle. Judith Urlings (IMOB) didn’t qualify for the finals, but she did conquer a nice third place in the Limburg preliminary. “It was an extraordinary experience. I’m glad to have participated”, said Judith.
An excellent researcher doesn’t only understand complex ideas. He knows how to communicate about it in a way that is easy to grasp. Communicating clearly makes you gain support, new ideas and perhaps even funding for your research. But where do you learn to do that? According to The Floor is Yours, the answer is simple: by explaining it to a child. Therefore, The Floor is Yours organizes, in cooperation with Mundo, the second edition of the Science Battle. 25 scientists battle for the desirable trophy for ‘Best research presentation’.
Preliminary in Limburg
The Limburg preliminary of the Science Battle took place at the VBS Sint-Willibrordus in Maasmechelen. The battle scene: the gymnasium. Four PhD-students of Hasselt University brought every trick to the table to engage children and to draw their attention. Judith explains how she presented her research: “I looked at my research from the perspective of a child. Does grandpa or grandma drive you sometimes to school or to other activities? Who was scared when grandpa or grandma is behind the wheel? I introduced them to ‘mister Janssen’. Together with the pupils, we considered WHY mister Janssen still wants to drive and why it is important to him. The pupils understood the needs and wishes of the elderly surprisingly well.”
It was Martijn Peters who eventually won the battle. “A deserved winner”, said Judith Urlings. “He gave a fabulous presentation. He acted as Gru in Despicable me and compared nanoparticles with the minions, those yellow creatures. It appeals to children and it entertains them.” Martijn Peters (Organic and Bio-polymer Chemistry) will present his research again in the finals on Friday, May 13, 2016, in Wilrijk. The scientists didn’t return empty-handed. “When they announced the winner, each participant got a trophy made by the pupils of the fifth and sixth grade”, said Judith Urlings.
The Limburg finalists weren’t thrown ‘to the wolves’ unprepared. The Floor is Yours organized a masterclass in presentation techniques. The scientists learned to translate their research into to a strong and appealing presentation. According to Judith interesting advice for each researcher. “A lot of things which we perceive as self-evident for a presentation, such as a title above each slide, were questioned. It forces us to rethink and to reinvent our own story.”
Seniors and road safety
What does Judith Urlings examine? She examines the difficulties elderly face while driving. She tests if they are still capable to drive. Are they able to judge a traffic situation correctly? Or do they bring other road users at risk? She also investigates, if the driving ability of the elderly can be trained.
© Toon Verlinden