Female Scientist “Top Trumps” Style Game

If you grew up in the UK around the 70’s, 80’s or 90’s you will most likely remember the super exciting card game, Top Trumps! Slightly more reserved than the current super duper video games that surround us today, this classic game still wins over the hearts and minds of all age groups.

Full of nostalgia, Top Trumps is a timeless gem. Those of you who have played will most likely remember the monsters, cars or plane packs, with the winner finishing with the full set of cards; the complete collection. Each go you eagerly turn over the next card in your pack, revealing a Ferrari, a Porsche or uh-oh, a Ford Mondeo, along with numbered categories ranked respectively to match your car. You pick a category hoping that it will be superior to your opponents and if so, walk away victorious with their card, and car, in hand.

But there is a new top trump style game on the streets; Top Female Scientists. This simple yet fun game with an educational twist is tackling a problem that is prevalent in today’s society: the lack of recognition for women in science. Truthfully, ask yourself, how many female scientists can you name? Even I, a female scientist, struggled after I ticked off the obvious Marie Curie and Jane Goodall with her iconic Chimpanzee.

And even if you can name them, do you remember their contributions? Or if their work was actually recognized on par with that of their male colleagues? The stories of female scientists who were robbed of Nobel Prizes, that were instead awarded to male colleagues or even husbands, are plentiful.

But this game aims to change that, to raise awareness of all the amazing work that has been done, and is still being done, by female scientists all over the world. Each card contains a photo, 4 categories and then a small paragraph about a female scientist and her work. Created by students at the University of Exeter, this ingenious game is free to download and print by clicking the link here. 

Jessica Spurrell, a PhD student and School-University Partnership Officer, from the University of Southampton, soon recognised what a superb idea this was and sought funding to print and distribute as many packs as she could get her hands on. As part of this, the Women in Science, Engineering and Technology committee WiSET at the University of Southampton, bought 500 packs and gave them out for free at the International Women’s Day city celebration.  They went down a storm with girls, boys, men, women, parents and teachers all scrambling to get their packs. People were even tweeting about them:

So simple yet effective, this accessible game is perfect for schools, long journeys and rainy days. With the hard work done, I urge any scientific council, university, museum or public engagement body to print and distribute these and help with positive promotion of women in science. So help spread the word, grab a pack and tell everyone about this fantastic game.

All images use here are taken from the game itself, developed by Simon Clark (@simonoxfphys) and Hannah Wakeford (@stellarplanet) for The Science Hour on XpressionFM at Exeter University.

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