Why I am Marching: Niamh Shaw

Niamh Shaw is an engineer, scientist and performer passionate about awakening people’s curiosity and merging performance and theatre with communication, engineering, science, art, and technology.

I grew up in a house where we were encouraged to question, prod, poke, take stuff apart to understand better how things worked. We all religiously watched David Attenborough’s ‘Life on Earth’ and Carl Sagan’s  ‘Cosmos’ every week together. It was our thing. It bonded us. We had this love of science that we all shared. No matter what was going on in the world, how bad a day we may have had, how confusing puberty was, or lost I felt, we could always talk science around the dinner table.

I get great comfort from facts and theories. Specific answers that are tangible. Real. Dad bought National Geographic and gave us the free posters to hang in our bedrooms. Posters of The Solar System, the Kings & Queens of England, the animals of Africa, all the fish in our sea, garden and marine birds of the UK. And every month the next edition in the Encyclopaedia Brittanica series came through the letter box, eventually making up a full alphabetical listing of all the answers to all the questions I could possibly have for the rest of my life!  Yummy, tangible information that made sense of MY life, in all its complexities.

Science is my way of seeing and understanding the world around me. I have a theory. I test it. And then I know whether my hypothesis is true. Or not. That’s my world. My life. My approach to every confusing thing that has ever happened to me. Applying the scientific process to any problem always brings clarity and better understanding. Even with boys!

Its embedded in all of us to question, and science is an extension of our instinctive urge to ask “Why?”  “How”? That’s why I’m marching on April 22nd. I’m celebrating my curiosity and how far its taken me already. I might even bring one of our encyclopaedias to share with you along the way! (maybe the answer to all of this is even in there somewhere too).

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