Keele University lecturer takes first place in online science contest

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Dr Jamie Pringle

Posted on 28 March 2011

A Keele University lecturer has won £500 in a reality TV-style competition for scientists, where students are the judges.

Dr Jamie Pringle, a lecturer in Engineering and Environmental Geosciences, shared joint first place in his category in the online science outreach event I’m a Scientist, Get me out of Here!.

Jamie answered more than 300 set questions in the Forensics Science zone ( and had 17 30-minute live chat sessions with students during the two-week event. He tied in his category with Mark Hill, a Forensic Collision Investigator from Sussex Police.

The award-winning project, funded by the Wellcome Trust, saw teenagers from Years 9 to 13 from more than 20 secondary schools posing questions online to real scientists from across the UK and learning about how science affects their daily lives. The students voted for the scientist they thought deserve the £500 prize and those with the fewest votes were evicted until only the winners remained.

Jamie, who plans to put the prize money towards his continuing research into finding the graves of murder victims, said: “I tried to answer student questions that varied from forensic-related, like ‘how do you find a dead body?’, to why I wanted to be a scientist, to where does light go in a black hole.

“I learnt so much from my fellow participating scientists as well, from fatal accident investigations, analytical work on fingerprints and DNA evidence, to entomology and how insects can catch killers. It was great fun and one I could definitely recommend for students and scientists alike to become involved with.”

Jamie’s funded research results will be uploaded onto the Fresh Science website (, so that schools and students can view and analyse the results for themselves.

The next I’m a Scientist, Get me out of Here! event is scheduled for June 13 to June 24. See for more information. A full list of winners can be found at