The competition was TOUGH - I have to say I was blown away by the impressive quality of presentations. Lots of people I'd definitely want to work with on sci comm projects in the future.
I was first up - never a good thing for nerves - but I was much happier this time around with how my talk went. I talked about what would happen if you put your head in the beam of a particle accelerator. I won't give away all my tricks quite yet though, I'll wait until the video is up and then write another post around that, including a few calculations I had to do along the way.
A nice surprise was that a guy called Niraj Lal was also competing - he was actually picked as one of the wildcards to possibly go through to the National final. It turns out we know each other from studying Physics at Melbourne Uni. We even spent 2 weeks in the same car on a geeky roadtrip to the middle of the desert in Australia in 2003 to see the total solar eclipse near Ceduna. Amazing to have such a blast from the past - it (and his presentation, which you just have to see to believe) - totally made my night.
Congratulations as well to Ceri Brenner - fellow LMH-alumni and also fellow Rutherford Lab person who was picked as the second wildcard with her talk about laser plasma accelerators. If nothing else, having Andrew (who works with accelerators) and Ceri (who wants to shrink the size of them down) in the National Final will mean lots of accelerator science getting out there, which is a good thing!