Nicola Smyllie joins forces with artist Dilek Özgit for Soapbox Science at Strawberry Fair

Nicola Smyllie participates in Soapbox Science at Strawberry Fair. Image courtesy of Nicola Smyllie.
Nicola Smyllie participates in Soapbox Science at Strawberry Fair. Image courtesy of Nicola Smyllie.

Nicola Smyllie, postdoc in the LMB’s Neurobiology Division, along with other leading female scientists from the region, showcased her science to the public, entertaining and captivating visitors at Strawberry Fair.

This year’s Cambridge Soapbox Science took on a new dimension with scientists partnered with artists with the aim of bringing difficult science concepts to the public in exciting, innovative and engaging ways. Nicola was partnered with Dilek Özgit, an electrical engineer who is also an abstract painter regularly exhibiting work locally and in London. Nicola invited Dilek to visit the LMB in May, to visit Nicola’s lab and chat about her research. Dilek created a painting especially for the Soapbox Science event which was inspired by the brain slice imaging that Nicola does as part of her research.

Nicola Smyllie talking to visitors at Strawberry Fair. Image courtesy of Nicola Smyllie.
Nicola Smyllie talking to visitors at Strawberry Fair. Image courtesy of Nicola Smyllie.

Nicola said, “my research focuses on understanding how the brain controls our 24-hour body clock. I use fluorescence and bioluminescence brain slice imaging to unpick the complex mechanisms of the circadian clock. Science public engagement is something I am passionate about doing because I feel it is our duty as scientists to share our knowledge with the public and for us to be role models to inspire the next generation of scientists. I was particularly excited to take part in this year’s Soapbox Science because of the chance to also team up with an artist. Art is a great way of making science accessible to everyone. I really enjoyed working with Dilek. It was great to have her visit the lab and to see her really take onboard what we are trying to achieve in our research. It was amazing to then see my research incorporated into her new painting, which was unveiled for the first time at the Soapbox Science event itself.”

Dilek Özgit with her works of art. Image courtesy of Nicola Smyllie.
Dilek Özgit with her works of art. Image courtesy of Nicola Smyllie.

Soapbox Science is a public outreach platform for promoting women scientists and the science they do. Public areas are transformed into spaces for learning and scientific debate, and scientists present their work with interactive props and collaborations with artists. Soapbox Science events take place throughout the summer at various locations around the UK, often including Cambridge.

Further references

Soapbox Science
Previous LMB News article: Entertaining the crowds at Soapbox Science, Cambridge