I don’t know if you know, but it’s British Science Week right now. My science communication efforts have plummeted to almost nothing since I wrapped up basically everything to write my thesis. I just haven’t quite got back involved with things yet (and it’s probably best I don’t give up quite as much of my time as I was a couple of years back). Nevertheless, a few weeks ago a colleague in engineering at Glasgow asked if I wanted to come along to the British Science Association’s Think and Drink Pub quiz.
I love a good pub quiz and I’m a big ‘ole nerd, so I obviously said yes. Then, because everything, especially work, is unusually busy right now, I forgot all about it. Thank goodness for my Google Calendar sending me reminders.
Anyway, off I went last night to Glasgows, The Admiral bar. The Admiral is a great little pub and a regular haunt of the Glasgow Skeptics group as well as a venue for all kinds of music and what not. They have a space downstairs which they allow groups to use for this kind of thing and they have good pub food and Joker on tap.
Oh, do you want to know the major advantage of holding a pub quiz in a bar’s basement room? No one can get 4g. So if you switch off the WiFi there’s no cheating via smartphones. Maybe it’s sad that it’s come to this and we need to literally move people underground to prevent them from cheating but I’ve got to tell you, it works.
The pub quiz had the following rounds:
- Picture round
- School Science
- Fact or Alternative Fact (i.e. True or False)
- Engineering Challenge
- General Ignorance
We did pretty well on every round except General Ignorance, for which I think we got about 5/10. We’d had high-ish hopes, with an astrophysicist, a space engineer, an electrical engineer and a parasitologist on the team (team name: Space Parasites), but we also expected a high standard, which there definitely was. The other thing I’d expected was more chaos – if you invite a bunch of scientists to do a science-themed pub quiz surely there’s going to be at least one person who questions the answers?
I think my favourite round was the engineering challenge. We were given two sheets of A4, two lolly sticks and a piece of string and told to build the tallest, strongest, prettiest tower we could using all the materials. We missed the memo on strongest and totally failed when it was strength tested, but we definitely made the tallest (and I would argue the prettiest but I’m biased).
As our answer sheets were being returned after the final round I already had my jacket on and was checking my watch. Not living in Glasgow means I need to keep a close eye on the time so I don’t miss the second-to-last train (the very last train scares me). I saw we’d flunked General Ignorance, laughed about it and said thanks and goodbye to my team before running off to go get home.
This morning there was a Facebook message waiting for me:
We won! It must have been incredibly close but we won and I am very happy to take, along with the team, the title of “smartest scientist in Glasgow.” I mean sure, I just made that up, but all the evidence is with me. I can’t wait to see what the sciency goodies are.
So that just about made my week. Have you been getting involved with any British Science Week events? Let me know all about it!