Nutshell Games Set for March 19; Registration Opens January 31

This image shows walnuts, both whole and cracked, with science imagery superimposed.
Image courtesy of Alex Crookshanks.

What can you sum up in 90 seconds? The Nutshell Games, first held at the opening of the Center for Communicating Science in 2017, asks graduate students to explain their research in that amount of time.

Hosted by Virginia Tech’s Center for Communicating Science and held in conjunction with Communicating Science Week, this year’s Nutshell Games will take place at 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 19, at the Moss Arts Center and will celebrate the fifth anniversary of the center. Virginia Tech graduate students interested in competing in the Nutshell Games can register beginning Monday, January 31.

After an online version of the Nutshell Games in 2020, this year we are back in person! Please note that at this time the Moss Arts Center is requiring proof of Covid-19 vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test result, which will apply to presenters as well as to audience members.

The first 30 graduate students to register will each have 90 seconds to present their research–research in a nutshell–to a panel of judges and a public audience. The judges will select five winners, each of whom will receive a $500 prize.

With an emphasis on communicating to non-scientists, the Nutshell Games will be judged by a panel of seven people from both on and off campus, including a local 7th grader. The judges this year are:

  • Carol Davis, Town of Blacksburg Sustainability Manager
  • Sylvester Johnson, Director of the Virginia Tech Center for Humanities
  • Elin Kelsey, spokesperson, scholar, educator, and author
  • Karen Roberto, Executive Director of the Virginia Tech Institute for Society, Culture and Environment
  • Daniel Sui, Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation, Virginia Tech
  • Aimée Surprenant, Dean of Virginia Tech’s Graduate School
  • Asaiah Townes, a 7th grader from Dalton Intermediate School in Radford

Only the first 30 contestants who register will present, so don’t delay! Contestants and those on the “waitlist” will be invited to participate in a preparatory workshop at Moss Arts Center from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 3.

If you would like to see examples of Nutshell Games presentations from previous years, visit the Center for Communicating Science YouTube channel where you can find recordings from 2020’s online version of the Nutshell Games as well as recordings from other in-person Nutshell Games.

We can’t wait to see your presentation and learn about your work!

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