This is the Strabane woman who’s set to make scientific history with her study on kissing.
Emer Maguire, a former Lumen Christi student will travel to London next week to go head to head with nine other finalists in the UK final of FameLab.
The 23 year-old made the finals when her winning talk based on the science of kissing and why we smooch, was unanimously voted the winner by the Belfast judges, as she explained that there’s much more to a kiss than just the exchange of salvia.
Emer, a Clinical Anatomy Masters student at Queen’s University Belfast beat off top competition from finalists who covered everything from the power to eat grass to golden jellyfish and bad blood.
Speaking ahead of the London finals next week, she said: “I haven’t quite finalised my topic just yet – so I can’t divulge anything – but what I can say is that it’s not like any of the others in the final.
“Quite a few of the finalists are physicists and doing PhDs so their topics are completely different to mine. They also deliver their talks in a completely different style, as I like to add a bit of Northern Irish craic – but time will only tell if that’s a winning combination!”
Prior to next week’s final Emer attended a two-day intensive masterclass in science communication with two of the UK’s top science communicators – Karl Byrne and Jonathan Sanderson. She was joined by her competition, who hailing from some of the UK’s top universities, made it through from one of 20 heats.
If Emer wins FameLab UK, she will not only go home with £1750 to further her career in science communication, but will also move on to the FameLab International Final at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival in June.
Jonathan Stewart, Deputy Director at British Council Northern Ireland said: “Emer has done exceptionally well to get this far and we’ll be supporting her all the way on the night. She’s a shining star and has every chance of bringing home the FameLab UK title, but we’ll still be keeping our fingers, and possibly toes, crossed!
Past Northern Ireland winners of the competition have gone on to great things. They include Simon Watt from Castlederg, who after winning FameLab Northern Ireland in 2005, went on to become a well-known biologist, writer, science communicator and TV presenter, most recently putting on three different science shows at the inaugural Northern Ireland Science Festival. So who knows … Emer may even be Northern Ireland’s next Brian Cox or Alice Roberts!