Ode to Physiology - Animal Olympics!

For 2016 The Physiological Society is looking at the theme of Elite Performance. We want to raise awareness of the physiology behind elite performance and highlight research exploring the makings of a champion in humans and other animals.  

Using rhythm and rhyme, can you explain the physiology behind what makes a super-fast runner or a deep-sea diver? Pick an animal, maybe a human, a cheetah or a peregrine falcon, and use it as inspiration to complete The Physiological Society’s poem to win some great prizes for you and your school.

Here is your starter verse:

In the animal kingdom some are elite,
In a race against a cheetah you couldn’t compete,
But what adaptations make you win the race,
whilst other species find it hard to keep the pace?

Your poems should delve into the physiology of your chosen animal, if you are not completely sure what physiology is, take a look at our 'What is Physiology' page. 

A winner will be chosen from three age groups – 10 and under, 11-18, and 18+


10 and under
Students will win a Smart Lab Squishy Human Body and an outreach visit to their school from a local physiologist (UK & Ireland schools only).

Students will win a copy of the book ‘Science is beautiful: The human body under the microscope’ and a Kindle Fire. Your school will also receive an outreach visit form a local physiologist (UK & Ireland schools only). 

For our over 18’s we will be offering an £50 John Lewis Voucher.

Submit your poems via our webform

The deadline for entries is Wednesday 4 May.


A shortlist will be compiled by members of The Physiological Society Education & Outreach Committee. The shortlist will then be judged by Kelley Swain, Poet-in-Residence at Oxford University Museum, and Sian Hickson, a previous English teacher, and current event developer at Edinburgh International Science Festival. Poems will be judged on their style and presentation, theme, imagery and originality.

Make sure you read the terms & conditions before you submit your entry - these can also be found in the downloadable document at the bottom of this page.

Some useful links to get you started

Podcasts on sports physiology: http://bit.ly/physocpodcasts
Respiration in exercise: http://bit.ly/exerciserespiration
On Top of their Game:http://bit.ly/wwfanimalolympics 
Animal top 10s: http://bit.ly/top10sanimals 
Nature’s record breakers: http://bit.ly/bbcanimals 
Animal Record Breakers: http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/photos/animal-records-gallery#/african-elephant-record_5790_600x450.jpg 

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