British Science Week 2015: #My1stExperiment (Kory Stout)

Kory StoutI remember watching BBC’s Planet Earth as a fresh-faced 13 year old and being absolutely fascinated with the sheer diversity of life on Earth. From watching penguins in Antarctica, to tigers hunting in India’s forests, I was completely captivated by nature. It was from this series and subsequent natural history films that I decided I wanted to know everything I possibly could about our planet.

My first experiment was an expertly coordinated and entirely controlled insect enclosure. After watching Attenborough describe the trials of life, I decided to gain some first-hand experience of field research by taking a Tupperware tub from my kitchen and, after filling it with leaves and twigs, I decided to hunt out as many bugs I could find from my garden as possible. After forming a rather strange ensemble of animals; ranging from spiders and worms to snails and caterpillars, I would watch over the tub for hours on end. My mum wouldn’t let me bring my mini-zoo into the house (to this day, I’m not quite sure why she wouldn’t want a bug infested box in her house) so I had to leave it outside. This proved to be a fatal error for my experiment. Thinking that insects wouldn’t be able to breathe if the Tupperware container had a lid on, I left the insect-zoo open to the elements. The next day I went to check on my specimens and to my horror they had all drowned and my enclosures were destroyed! My first scientific experiment had ended in failure.

My 1st experiment seems to be worlds apart from experiments I undertook in my undergraduate degree in Manchester. From the dirty, inaccurate and superficial make-shift animal enclosure in my back garden, to the state of the art and high-tech laboratories in the Faculty of Life Sciences, my science experiments radically changed. What didn’t change was my passion for science – my desire to better understand the world around me has not waned. If anything, my undergraduate degree increased my passion to continuously learn science! My first experiment was not a success – it wasn’t a well organised, slick or professional procedure. However, the reason for the experiment has remained constant throughout my science education and I hope that it continues.

My 1st experiment is a promotional campaign in collaboration with British Science Week. British Science Week (BSW) is a ten-day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths – featuring fascinating, entertaining and engaging events and activities across the UK for people of all ages. To take part, why not head down to the Manchester Museums and check out some of their exhibits. Also, why not tweet in using #My1stExperiment and let us know what first sparked your interest in science.