Talking about immune systems, saliva and chemical cocktails isn’t the best way to go if you’re hoping for a snog.

But for student Emer Maguire her knowledge of the science of tonsil hockey has made her famous.

At a FameLab event in the Black Box Queen’s student Emer proved herself to be so much of an authority on kissing that they give her an award for it.

The global science communication competition saw the 23-year-old battle it out against eight other science stars at Belfast’s Black Box before being crowned overall winner. She will now go forward to the prestigious UK final.



Emer Maguire with her award


Her talk, which was based on the science of kissing and why we smooch, saw Emer delight and horrify the audience as she talked about immune systems, saliva and chemical cocktails.

She faced stiff competition from her peers from Queen’s, University of Ulster, Belfast Met and the Belfast Health Trust, who covered everything from the Fifty Shades of Blue and the power to eat grass to golden jellyfish and bad blood.

Emer said: “When I walked into the Black Box my initial reaction was to turn and run as I was ridiculously nervous, but once I got onto the stage I was fine and raring to go.”

Emer, who also works as a Speech and Language Therapist, had never really thought about a career in science communication until entering the competition.

She said: “FameLab has definitely made me think about my future. As a Speech and Language Therapist, communication is vital; so I would love to be able to combine this and my Masters to make science more accessible and something everyone can experience. FameLab has given me the confidence to do this.

“I chose kissing for FameLab Northern Ireland as I wanted to talk about something a little different and engaging, but something everyone can relate to.”

Emer, who will head to the FameLab UK final in April, will also take part in an intensive two-day communication masterclass.


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