New fellowships to 'share the amazement'

PPARC has today announced the first recipients of its Science and Society Fellowships. The Fellowships allow researchers to share the amazement of their work with the public by devoting part of their working time to communication activities.

The first ever recipients of the awards are:

  • Dr Maggie Aderin, University College London to use PPARC's research into the "Big Questions" to engage young people and particularly ethnic minority groups with science.

  • Dr Paul Roche, Cardiff University to be the National Schools' Astronomer

Engaging with the public is a vital part of modern scientific research to be accountable to the taxpayers who fund it, create a society of scientifically literate citizens and to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

"Through my PPARC fellowship I would like to convey the joy and excitement of science to as many people as possible." said Maggie Aderin, "As scientists we are doing amazing and quite mindboggling things. I find these advances thrilling and I hope to share this with others. To achieve this, the scientific community needs to make science accessible and in this role I see myself as a translator, removing the jargon and highlighting the wonder."

Of Nigerian descent, Maggie has made an impact demonstrating to ethnic minority groups as well as to girls, that they, like her, can have a fun and exciting career in science. Maggie will spend 40% of her time over the next two years working on outreach projects.

Paul Roche has extensive experience of working with both researchers and schools groups, in particular through the Faulkes Telescope Project which allows research quality telescopes on the other side of the world to be controlled from UK classrooms. Paul will spend 50% of his time for three years on his fellowship.

He says "The fellowship provides a great opportunity to get more scientists working with schools, and to give them some basic training in what both teachers and students need and want. Just because you know how to weigh a black hole or calculate the distance to a quasar, it doesn't follow that you can explain that clearly to a 14-year old!"

"With the increasing access to real research data that comes from the availability of robotic telescope projects like Faulkes and various "virtual observatories", it's vital that we provide as much guidance and support as we can if we really want to encourage students to study science, technology and maths at university level."

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Notes for Editors

Images of the researchers are available from PPARC Press Office.

Contacts
Julia Maddock
PPARC Press Office
Tel 01793 442094
Julia.maddock@pparc.ac.uk

Dr. Paul Roche
Director, Faulkes Telescope Project
School of Physics & Astronomy, Cardiff University,
Tel. +44 (0)29 20875112 www.faulkes-telescope.com
paul.roche@faulkes-telescope.com

Dr Maggie Aderin
University College London
Tel 07940 519 343
m.aderin@science-innovation.com

The Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) is the UK's strategic science investment agency. It funds research, education and public understanding in four areas of science - particle physics, astronomy, cosmology and space science.

PPARC is government funded and provides research grants and studentships to scientists in British universities, gives researchers access to world-class facilities and funds the UK membership of international bodies such as the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN), the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO) and the European Space Agency. It also contributes money for the UK telescopes overseas on La Palma, Hawaii, Australia and in Chile, the UK Astronomy Technology Centre at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh and the MERLIN/VLBI National Facility, which includes the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank observatory.

PPARC's Public Understanding of Science and Technology Awards Scheme funds both small local projects and national initiatives aimed at improving public understanding of its areas of science.


Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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