AN ASTROPHYSICIST, a junior doctor and a maths tutor in a toga walk into a bar: they talk about their love of science in front of the whole room and end up going through to the regional finals of this year's Famelab.

Actually, those speakers were just three out of eight geeks with the gift of the gab who have won places in the next stages of the national science presenting contest, which aims to find the next David Attenborough or Brian Cox.

Oxford Mail:

Junior doctor Lucy Guile talks about Jungle Remedies.

The passionate presenters all gave their short talks on a subject of their choice for the Oxford heats of this year's competition at the St Aldate's Tavern and Chequers pub in Oxford on Wednesday and Thursday.

Astrophysicist Mike Walmsley gave his talk on the subject How To Build a Mind , while junior doctor Lucy Guile, who is currently working in Bristol, told the tale of how a deadly plant has become a crucial part of modern surgery in Jungle Remedies.

Oxford Mail:

The crowd goes wild for science.

Maths tutor Tom Crawford, meanwhile, who works at St Hugh’s College, who wore a toga and talked about his favourite shapes.

Among this year's panel of judges were science broadcaster and astrophysicist Chris Lintott and eminent science writer Georgina Ferry.

They were also impressed by Oxford University biologist Mubeen Goolam, who talked about The Superhero of Cells, and environmental scientist Kirsten Lees from the University of Reading, with her talk Can Peatlands Save the World?

Oxford Mail:

Some of last week's winners...

The winners list was completed by Oxford University physicist Rudin Petrossian-Byrne (How do Magnets Talk?), chemical biologist James Eaton (Finding Drugs in Nature) and biologist Bernadeta Dadonaite (Vaccines Served With Scrambled Flu and Eggs).

All eight will now go through to the regional final on March 7 at another Oxford pub – The Bullingdon on Cowley Road.

The winner of that will go through to the national final in London in April.

Oxford competitors have a good record of making it to the national final of FameLab.

Oxford Mail:

...and the rest.

The 2016 heats, organised by educational charity Science Oxford, generated both the eventual winner Kyle Evans and the runner-up Jase Taylor.

Science Oxford provides training and support for all the performers and gives them training and opportunities to work on their acts via programmes such as its Science Cabarets.

Previous FameLab UK entrant and Oxford University physicist Francesca Day said: "Taking part in FameLab was great fun. One of the most valuable aspects was receiving training and feedback from the judges.

"It gave me the confidence to go on to develop and perform my own solo science comedy show for Edinburgh Fringe in 2016."