This week SG Glasgow celebrated Scotland’s baird with a Burns Bingo session at Cumbrae House. We wanted to have an opportunity to talk to the residents about what opportunities they had to be scientists when they were growing up and to get an idea of what they knew about female scientists – but first we broke the ice with a game of bingo!
Residents gathered in the activities room, which had been decked out by Rosanne, the activities coordinator, in tartan and saltaires before our arrival. We gave each resident a bingo sheet with 16 Burns poem titles on it and a bingo dabber and got going. We had a mixture of songs sung by Eddie Reader and live readings by Rhona McGonigal (our most Scottish Science Grrl!). Isabel Vincent was on hand to help the residents find the poems on their sheets, while Joanne Power was left holding the baby (yes, SG Glasgow mascot Stanley also came along for the fun!). The residents were quite competitive and there were some tense moments as the bingo grids were filled in, but we eventually found three winners who received Giant Microbes and SG goodies.
After the bingo, we stayed to have a good chat and a cup of tea with the residents. Stanley was extremely popular and everyone wanted to have a chat with him – he made many new friends including Helen, who has 100 years on Stanley to the month!
While at the residential home we wanted to take the opportunity to gather some information on what the residents thought about women in science. We asked the residents about their level of education and whether they felt they had the opportunity to follow a career in science. Most of the residents we spoke to (all female) only had primary level qualifications and had never considered science careers. We asked them to name any scientists they could think of and then any female scientists they could think of. In fact, none of the residents could name any scientists at all without prompting, but when asked said they had heard of Einstein and Marie Curie.
We will continue our questionnaires with different demographics to try to build up a picture of science career opportunities for the people of Glasgow. We will ask children next at Glasgow’s Science Centre on the 11th of February – let’s hope they feel they have more opportunity in 2017 than the Cumbrae House residents had 80 years ago!