Science is simple thanks to Barbie and a police siren

The Oxford Times: Two Oxford students runners up in national science competition FameLab. Becky Smethurst and Jonathan Brooks-Bartlett show off props from their presentations Two Oxford students runners up in national science competition FameLab. Becky Smethurst and Jonathan Brooks-Bartlett show off props from their presentations

Two Oxford scientists have gained runners up places at the national FameLab contest.

Using Barbie, Action Man and Darth Vader figures, mathematician Jonathan Brooks-Bartlett unpacked his theories in a talk at the competition, which celebrates communicating difficult sciences in an easy way.

Using mathematical models, he argued that social networking service Facebook will suffer the same fate as MySpace, which became unpopular.

He said: “FameLab has helped me to learn so much and meet some fantastic people.”

Fellow runner-up, physicist Becky Smethurst, showed how we know the universe is expanding by using the phenomenon of the siren on a police car changing pitch as it races past.

They reached the finals, at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London on April 23, after winning regional heats hosted by Science Oxford.

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