Who are we?
Rory and Paul work as teachers and scientists in the Institute of Biological Chemistry, Biophysics and Bioengineering (we call it “IB3” for short, for obvious reasons) at Heriot-Watt University. As the Institute name suggests, it’s all about working with scientists and engineers from different subjects to study biology. Rory is a ‘cell biologist’ really – he gets excited about cells and has done since he was about 7 (and studies diabetes in his day-job). Paul is a physicist who knows all about, well, physics. He is really interested these days in building microscopes to help biologists look at very Small Things that move very fast inside Living Things.
Laura is the person who does all the work making the website awesome and the competition fabulous. Laura has a PhD in Marine Biology and has studied all over the world in places with much better weather than Scotland. As well as making EnLightenment tick, Laura’s other jobs include helping coordinate the public engagement activities at Heriot-Watt (making sure University lecturers turn up when they say they will) and looking after a toddler. These skills are not mutually exclusive.
We have lots and lots of helpers from IB3, who are mostly studying for a PhD in chemistry, physics, maths, engineering or biology, or who are working as researchers in laboratories. These guys help out for the love of science and because they love telling other people what we do. See also: cake.
We should thank some other Very Important People here too. The design of the microscope kits we are giving away, and some of the ideas about using them in classrooms, were perfected by Scott Bryce, who’s a teacher in Fife. We’d like to claim all the glory for ourselves, but Scott would know.
Our EnLightenment project is sponsored by the Wellcome Trust (thanks!), and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council from a fund they give to Heriot-Watt University (more thanks!). This allows us to talk to you and to give away the kits and prizes etc. We also need to thank Martha and Lilli Duncan who helped test the website and made the awesome video, all in exchange for sweets.
Other people who helped us do all this include a number of companies who gave us time, efforts, advice, materials and enthusiasm:
We are also grateful to Bay Plastics for supplying the perspex for the kits.