Researcher shares ‘The Secrets of Successful Sperm’ to take film prize

nicola-hemmingsAn animal behaviour researcher has won a University-wide competition for a five minute video she made about sperm.

Dr Nicola Hemmings made the short film, ‘The Secrets Of Successful Sperm’, and entered it in the University’s My Research Story competition.

Last night she was named winner and presented with a £250 prize by Sheffield alumnus and Nobel Prize winner Professor Sir Harry Kroto.

Dr Hemmings, a postdoctoral researcher in Animal and Plant Sciences, said: “I was surprised and delighted to hear my video had won the competition! I thoroughly enjoyed the award ceremony and it was an honour to have my prize presented by Nobel Prize winner Sir Harry Kroto.”

The My Research Story competition was open to postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers. Entrants were asked to make an engaging short video about their research, aimed at a general audience and with a clear link to how the research benefits society.

Dr Hemmings said:  “After seeing the excellent entries for the University’s Three Minute Thesis competition last month, I was feeling inspired to make my own short research video. So when I heard about the My Research Story competition, it was an opportunity not to be missed.

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“There was a very clear objective: make a video explaining your research in an engaging and accessible way, suitable for any audience. There was also a strict five minute time limit, which forced me to focus on what was important. Five minutes seems incredibly short when you are trying to describe a whole post-doctoral research project!

“Planning and creating the video was a great learning experience. I didn’t use anything fancy, just a standard digital camcorder and the basic video editing software already available on my computer. I tried to be imaginative about the different scenes to make the video varied and interesting.

Dr Hemmings is presented with her certificate by Professor Sir Harry Kroto

Dr Hemmings is presented with her certificate by Professor Sir Harry Kroto and his wife Lady Margaret Kroto

“I was surprised how straightforward it was to put all the video clips together along with image sequences and voiceover. I was impressed at how much can be done with relatively inexpensive equipment. In the future, I’d love to learn how to produce videos to a more professional standard, using better filming equipment and more advanced software.”

Last night’s prize-giving was part of Sir Harry Kroto’s annual visit to the University, where he got his BSc and PhD from the Department of Chemistry. He won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1996 for discovering of a new form of carbon, buckminsterfullerene.

Find out more about Dr Hemmings’ research – visit her lab webpage

Follow @hemmingsnicola1 on Twitter

Find out more about My Research Story

Find out more about Professor Sir Harry Kroto’s visit