Nutshell Games Set for November 7

Where can you learn about 30 research projects in 45 minutes? At the fifth annual  Nutshell Games, of course! Hosted by Virginia Tech's Center for Communicating Science and held in conjunction with the Virginia Tech Science Festival, this graduate student presentation competition will take place at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, November 7, at the conclusion of the day-long Science Festival.

This year, in response to the pandemic, we’ll be moving to an online format. Instead of presenting live and onstage, researchers will submit 90-second video recordings of their presentations. The submission deadline is October 28, and the competition is limited to 30 participants. All videos will be presented to the public on November 7.

The first 30 graduate students to register will each have 90 seconds to present their research--research in a nutshell--to an online audience for this friendly science communication competition. Three winners, determined by a panel of judges to have been the most engaging and to have communicated their research the most clearly, will each receive a $500 prize. All of the contestants will have their individual video recordings posted on the Center for Communicating Science YouTube channel so that the research presentations can be shared widely.

With an emphasis on communicating to non-scientists, the Nutshell Games will be judged by a panel of people from both on and off campus. Contestants will be provided with a list of judging criteria, which include connection with the audience, communicating the importance of the research, making the research accessible to a broad audience, and more.

Contestants and those on the “waitlist” are invited to participate in a preparatory workshop (via Zoom) 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, October 1.

Presentation videos must be submitted by October 28 and must meet all Nutshell Games requirements. Center for Communicating Science faculty reserve the right to disqualify any submitted video for exceeding the time limit or otherwise not meeting guidelines.

Nutshell Games Rules:

·         Have Fun! 

·         Your presentation video must be 90 seconds maximum. If you submit a presentation video longer than 90 seconds, it will not be included in the program.

·         No PowerPoint slides or additional electronic media (e.g., sound or video files) are permitted. One prop or visual aid is permitted. You may also choose to do your recording in an environment that helps tell your story—your lab, a field site, etc.  

·         You must speak in prose! No songs, poems, raps, etc. 

·         Please plan to speak directly to the camera and to do the recording in a single go—no editing is allowed, and we want to see YOU in the video at all times. 

·         We will edit in a title slide with your name, program or study, and the title of your talk at the beginning. You will need to provide that information to us.

·         You may dress in business casual, or you may choose to wear clothing that is related to your story as a type of costume.

·         Recording quality and equipment needed: Please don’t stress about the technology. It is you we are interested in.  You are free to record this on your computer via Zoom, or I-Movie. or something of the kind . . . or even on your phone.  Please do use the best microphone available to you, but DON’T go out and buy something. We are interested in hearing from you, not your toys. Please do consider how to get light on your face because we want to see your face.

·         No presentation recordings may be released to the world in advance of 4:30 p.m. November 7.

·         The judges' decision is final. 

We can’t wait to learn about your work!