· Hmmm Squad,synthetic,data,communication

Last Thursday, I joined Shrewsbury’s leading (and only) Science and Philosophy group, the Hmmm Squad. I’ve been meaning to go to one of these events for about 2 years now and finally got an excuse to wiggle out of other commitments to go along.

A couple of weeks before, thinking it might be an opportunity to give a talk in the future about our work, I looked up the next Hmm Squad event to find it was to be a mixed bag, which meant that anyone could stand up and give a 5 or 10 minute talk on a topic of their choice. My idea of checking it out first to see what the talks are generally like went out of the window and I started writing my own talk on simulations.

This seemed like a great way to tackle the problem we’ve been having of explaining fully what we are doing with health simulations and why. Trying to explain this complex idea to an audience with a variety of backgrounds in less than 10 minutes has been a good exercise in how to communicate clearly and concisely.

I went to the Old Post Office armed with my USB and a page of notes looking forward to seeing what other talks would be happening. As it turns out, I was up first and I’m glad to say that the talk went well bar losing my place in my notes a couple of times. The audience responded well with a few questions afterwards about how the data was obtained and then the results validated. We are looking in to a better way to show people how this validation against the real world is done.

The talks continued and I learned a lot about mayflies thanks to the ever-energetic host Pip. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay for the talk on the fourth dimension, which peaked my mathematical curiosity but I’m sure I will back for another hmmm as soon as I can.

By Harley Johnson

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