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Second place for an Israeli scientist in an international competition for scientific communication

FayLab Israel winner, Keren Lavi, a doctoral student in neuroscience at Bar Ilan and Haifa universities, won second place in the FayLab international science communication competition held on Saturday night, June 11, in Great Britain 

Keren Lavia, the winner of the FaymLab 2011 competition. Photo: Sivan Shavor
Keren Lavia, the winner of the FaymLab 2011 competition. Photo: Sivan Shavor

14 young scientists from around the world who won the national competitions held in the last few months participated in the Paymalab competition. The competitors are required to enthuse the audience in three fascinating minutes about science - they are not allowed to use presentations or whiteboards, only their talent, the clear and exciting delivery of the message and the fascinating topic. First place was won by Mirthani Fieri from Cyprus, a PhD in molecular biology from the University of Oxford who studies the inheritance of kidney diseases. Third place went to Mahmoud Abu-Hader from Egypt, an engineering student at Alexandria University.

Keren Lavi from Israel won first place in the Israeli final held a few weeks ago at Hamada - the center for scientific education in Tel Aviv. Already at a lecture in Israel, Keren promised the crowd that filled the competition hall that they would not be able to forget her lecture - and indeed she kept her word. Keren presented a study conducted by her academic grandfather, or her doctoral supervisor's supervisor, Professor Yadin Dodai from the Weizmann Institute, which deals with the strengthening or weakening of memories. Keren presented the same talk at the UK finals and was praised for the way she combined her personal story with her scientific research story, and for the way she managed to convey her passion for science.

The FaymLab competition was founded at the Cheltenham Science Festival seven years ago as a way to locate the new faces in science communication - young scientists with talent and a desire to present science to the public in new and fascinating ways. Five years ago the British Council adopted the competition and turned it into an international competition. Israel participates in the competition five years in a row and is the only country in the world where only female scientists have always won. The competition is sponsored and supported by the British Council and has been organized for the past two years by Hamada in collaboration with the Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem and the Technion. This year the competition was held with the help of a generous donation from the former president of the Weizmann Institute Prof. Michael Sela and his wife Sara, and was also assisted by Scientific American Israel.

Every year hundreds of competitors in different countries participate in the competition, from Hong Kong to Portugal and Azerbaijan to Morocco. Last year, even a female scientist from Libya participated. Egypt began participating in the competition last year, and this year the organizers were afraid that the riots in the country would disrupt the competition, but at the same time as the political changes, the competition was held as a series - the Faymlab judges in the UK added good wishes not only to the Egyptian competitor but also to Egypt as a whole.

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