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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.”

Julia Maddock | alfa
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