ON SATURDAY a budding Cypriot scientist was the winner of  science’s equivalent of pop idol, Famelab, at the UK’s Cheltenham science festival.

Myrtani Pieri, a biological researcher at the University ofCyprus, won her place in the final in the national competition, organised by the British Council in Cyprus on April 17.

She was given three minutes to wow the Famelab judges with her chosen topic: the role of the immune system in pregnancy.

Pieri went up against 13 other finalists with her talk, “How deep is your love” which the rules state should be comprehensible to a general adult audience, included small props but, thankfully, no Powerpoint presentations.

In previous years presenters have used a range of props, from apples to balloons and even audience members to bring their scientific studies to life.

Martyna the winner of the competition  received prizes from the British Council, National Fund of Karel Janeek and the Academy of Science of the Czech Republic.

Since 2004, the competition at has sought to take science out of the classroom, make it more fun and encourage young scientists to share their enthusiasm with the general public.

Saturday’s event was hosted by last year’s winner, mathematician Matt Parker, who in three minutes demonstrated that the probability of dying in under an hour and a half was actually greater than winning the UK’s national lottery, so punters should buy their tickets at the last minute.

The contest was judged by an international team of scientific communication experts including British physicist Kathy Sykes, New Scientist editor Roger Highfield and Greek novelist, playwright and journalist George Zarkadakis, who holds a PhD in Artificial Intelligence.

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