Elchin Ibrahimov's blog

9 days, 2 missed trains

Posted on: July 1, 2009

9 days, 2 missed trains, free City cruise, unexpected London and friendly people…………..

Almost 20 min. I was waiting in front of window. Eventually a man handed out my passport with the smile in his face and said:

You have multiple entry visa for UK within 180 days ” He still had smile and victory in his face. Maybe it was reaction for my emotions that I have after a long visa processing delay.

Then everything happened in a wink as if in dreams and I was in Heathrow. I met there Aziz- last year finalist from Azerbaijan- who came to support me and meet his other friends. We took a coach to Cheltenham. The road to this small science city was very greenish. It was the first thing that surprised me a lot, even in the flight as we passed Black sea the land under us was somehow unusual (separated to almost equal parts green fields or in some places soil, straight roads and etc. ). After few days I also knew that this road was one of most beautiful. My first dinner I had in Zizzy Pizza. It actually was church but now works as restaurant with round inner, high ceiling, delicious meals and friendly personal going around to serve you. We met there finalists from different countries, Project Manager- our dear Lyubov and jury. Together we discussed about everything till the midnight and had great evening.

Next day we went to The Times Cheltenham Science Festival venue. It was a large building with many rooms that each was devoted to some science field. In the central hall which was called Discover Zone there were fabulous stands with eye-catching exhibits. You may try everything yourself and explore the working mechanism of lie detector or try your hand at being a code breaker like British did in World War II at Bletchley Park for which it became famous. Also, the Book-store in the yard with plenty of science communication books and amazing souvenirs. But the place that I guess all participants and guests liked most was our VIP Room. In the breaks we were collecting there and chatting about our impressions. In that magic small room I got acquainted with a lot of people: the professors of the University of London, managers and organizers of festival, journalists from BBC, Times magazine and the well-known scientist, TV presenter, politician and quite private person Prof. Robert Winston and etc. (by the way it was also our free internet access room). I also took part in the lectures and debates with the hosting of Jim Al- Khalili. The ones I liked most were “The Big Bang and Beyond” and about the pioneer of nuclear age “Rutherford”. It was especially interesting to hear about this greatest scientist of the 20th century from his great-granddaughter Mary Fowler.

As the hours were passing we’re feeling the smell of grand final- Nesta FameLab more close. It took place on the lawn which really surprised me. But then I realized that it was to stimulate people think about new ideas at unusual places and uncommon situations. 10 curios science communicators were talking about wonders of the world we live in in understandable and appealing to auditory and judges way with the hosting of Quentiiiiiiin Cooper. It was also trigger for us – FameLab international finalists to be ready for our next day final. Eventually, we reached to the culmination point of our three days stay in Cheltenham. It was the self-expression of international famelabers from around the Europe. We communicated our topics to the UK audience within 3 min. We didn’t do it in our native language that was part of challenge (also excitement), but we did it in global language of modern science- in English. My topic was about “sleeping process in our body and brain”. I talked about the wonderful protective mechanism of our brain that paralyses our limb muscles while we see dreams and want to enact them as if it’s real. The winner selected Mirko from Serbia who really did entertain and conveyed his science message to everyone in very charismatic style. Actually this was the purpose why we did come long way to UK: for communicating our enthusiasm about science to the UK audience, to learn their experience and use it in our daily life. Personally, I believe there is a misconception that science is challenging, boring and hard to understand, so I joined FameLab to show that science could be fan. All we need to do is to explore it and those who do that, I’m sure they love it.

After final we talked about our future plans with Festival Director and our judge – fabulous and very very energetic person Kathy Sykes. We decided to keep in touch with each other and work closely with local British Council and get help from them in sharing the experience we learnt with our colleagues and friends. I also plan to get into contact with local schools and ask teachers allow us to hold 2-3 times in a month experimentals lessons for pupils. It will help them to understand thier lessons more detailad and have visual memory of theoritical knowledge and its implementation in daily life. Moreover, we may prepare several topics and talk about them in the streets. By this way we would get attaintion of people on us and we will have a chance to communicate our ideas and thoughts to them. That’s why I opened a new yahoogroup on the net and added there all Azerbaijan participants which will make easeir for us to keep in touch with each other. We also have local group on Facebook and we encourage others to join Famelab Global Network created by Malcolm Love for sharing our ideas and future plans. (by the way also, do not forget to become my fan on the facebook.com ) In a nutshell, I would like to express my gratitudes to our local British Council for holding such a great project and its supporters Azercell and Qafqaz University. Also, alot of thanks to the Cheltenham Science Festival organizers and all people that was involved in realization of it. I’m really happy that I had this great experience: going deep into science and understanding its spirit, gaining more inspiration and motivation as young scientist, hearing the most controversial theories in the explanation of most famous and professional scientists, being shocked by breathtaking lectures and taking part in a very hottttt debates, and of course, meeting social animals and crazy people who get involved in SCIENCE……………… …………

with these thougts the day ended and we begin to prepare leaving Cheltenham….

Yes, that was the end for most participants. The end of beloved festival, beloved city and beloved people. But, definitely it was only the beginning for me and my buddy Aziz in conquering the magic Oxford and unexpected London…..

to be continued

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2 Responses to "9 days, 2 missed trains"

Top stuff Elchin – a real sense of what the event is like from perspective of participant – how exciting, daunting and fun it all is, and what can continue to come out of it…

See you….somewhere!

Q

2 missed trains…we were at the station 30 minutes before…but missed ours.
🙂

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