If there was ever any doubt that the geeks have finally inherited the Earth let it be put to rest now. Forget your mundane Saturday night talent shows for people who can merely dance, sing or tell a half-decent joke: a new competition which challenges young scientists to get up on stage and show off their improbably high IQs by delivering a three minute speech on something very clever has launched in South Africa, and it actually looks like it might be fun.

FameLab is being funded and organised by The British Council, in association with the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAAST) and the National Research Foundation (NRF). It’s open to any young South African scientist between the ages of 21 and 35 – but don’t be put off if you don’t carry a test tube to work. In this case the definition of scientist includes:

Private and public sector employees, teachers, technicians and anyone working in the fields of natural sciences and engineering including biology, biotechnology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics, medicine, pharmacy, physics, psychology, robotics, astronomy and more.

Regional heats kick off on 1st February in Durban and run throughout the month.

Heat dates

1 Feb 2014 – Durban, KZN Science Centre, Gateway
6 Feb 2014 – University of Limpopo, Limpopo Science Centre
13 Feb 2014 – Mafikeng, North West University Science Centre
15 Feb 2014 – Bloemfontein, National Museum
1 March 2014 – Uitenhage (Eastern Cape), Nelson Mandela Bay
Science & Technology Centre

The competition aims to provide new opportunities for scientists to develop their skills as communicators.

Contestants will be given a maximum of three minutes in which to impress the judges. The judges will be looking for exciting, engaging and charismatic talks that can also be understood by a public lay (non-science) audience.

Regional winners will attend Masterclasses with an International FameLab trainer and compete for a spot in the final at Scifest Africa on 14 March 2013. The winner represents South Africa in the International Final at the Cheltenham Science Festival in the United Kingdom.

Scientists who are studying or working in science, technology, engineering or mathematics in South Africa can register to participate in regional heats from February 1st  to March 1st 2014.

Visit britishcouncil.org.za to register and for more information.

(Image: British Council)