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Grandmother wins Radio 4 science project

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A snail

© Rex Features

Grandmother Ruth Brooks has been crowned 'Britain's Best Amateur Scientist' after winning BBC Radio 4's So You Want To Be A Scientist competition.

The station's Material World programme recently ran a campaign for listeners to suggest scientific experiments that they wanted to try out.

Four finalists were then invited to carry out their experiments under expert guidance, before presenting their findings to judges at the British Science Festival yesterday.

Brooks was named the winner for her research on the homing distance of common snails, which the BBC believes could help gardeners deal with the pests more humanely.

The 69-year-old grandmother from Devon, who will receive her award on tomorrow's Material World programme at 4.30pm, said: "I don't know whether this is the right decision or not. I wonder if I am the worthy winner. I know all the experimenters worked terribly hard.

"For me the whole summer has been pure joy and fun and this is just the icing on the cake because I've had such a great time and I couldn't have done it without my mentor Dave (Hodgson, senior lecturer in ecology at Exeter University). I could not have tackled that data. I couldn't have done it without him."

The other finalists in the competition investigated what makes up a typical Facebook photograph, crowd densities at music gigs and the appearance of noctilucent clouds.

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