Sam Hillman is a PhD student in the Department of Physics.
What was it like preparing for, and talking at, the annual FoNS Research Showcase?
Preparing for the FoNS Showcase was a very interesting and useful experience, because I’ve never previously presented to an audience which was so professionally diverse. I found that less is more: I ended up focusing almost completely on making sure that my take-home message was clear, rather than being tempted to over-explain tangential details. This was both enjoyable and challenging!
Why are opportunities like this important?
I think scientific research is only useful to society if you can communicate it to both policy makers and to society as a whole – just look at 2020 for evidence of that. Events like the FoNS Showcase encourage early career researchers to consider how they should be communicating their work, and to whom.
I also think the Showcase is a great celebration of the work of younger researchers – news articles and other communications often rightly focus on the principal investigator, but PhDs are the engine room of modern research and it’s nice to see that acknowledged in a public forum.
Got any helpful advice for fellow students about giving an academic talk?
Don’t try to explain too much – if you’ve spent 4 years trying to understand it, you can’t convey all of that in a few minutes!