Sinéad Griffin, an early-career staff scientist who specializes in condensed matter physics at the Foundry and the Materials Science Division, won first place and a cash price of $3,000 at the first annual Lab-Wide Research Slam last Thursday. Shyam Dwaraknath (Energy Technologies Area) won the second-place prize of $1,500, and Michele Rosso of the Computing Sciences Area won the People’s Choice Award of $750.
In her winning talk titled “Dark Matters,” Griffin compared her work – the development of a new detector material that’s light enough to detect very light dark matter – to developing a tool that can detect things that go bump in the night. “I like doing talks and outreach, but because I work with materials, I don’t always have a chance to talk about dark matter. This was such a nice event to practice that skill, and because our cohort of finalists is so diverse, I learned a lot about what everyone’s working on,” she said.
Griffin, along with Dwaraknath and Rosso, competed against nine other finalists at the Thursday event – a friendly “pitch slam” where speakers have just 2-3 minutes to describe their research before a general audience. Although only three people walked away with prizes, each of the 12 finalists will get a professionally edited video of their competition speech, which they can use for future opportunities.