Jim Al-Khalili communicates science and wins THE prize

May 30, 2007 at 3:11 am | Posted in Astronomy, Communication, Physics, Royal Society, Science, Science communication, Science prize | Leave a comment

Gravitational Waves provided a great listen on a recent drive to Oxford. The journey was one of those that fit the BBC Radio 4 programme perfectly: it ended as we parked, so there was no need for a driveway moment 😉

Melvyn Bragg hosts In Our Time and on May 17 he learned about gravitational waves that were predicted by Einstein but have not yet been proved to exist. I was particularly interested in the way the use of radio limits explanations of complex topics. As a renowned whiteboard scribbler using coloured markers to clarify points, I have taught engineers from many countries who read and understand clear International Technical English though struggle with colloquial conversations, as I do in their countries! The scientists on-air painted clear pictures in my mind, and it made me wonder what it must be like to be blind while listening to physics lectures where you cannot see the diagrams. (I see this as one aspect of communicating science: the ability to paint useful pictures in people’s minds that they can ‘play with’ mentally in 3-D or 4-D as well as mathematically and, then, in further dimensions.)

Melvyn was joined by three excellent contributors:

  • Jim Al-Khalili, Professor of Physics and Professor of Public Engagement in Science at the University of Surrey
  • Carolin Crawford, Royal Society Research Fellow at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge
  • Sheila Rowan, Professor in Experimental Physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Glasgow

Now I am reminded to listen again, after hearing this hour that:

Professor Jim Al-KhaliliProfessor Jim Al-Khalili has been awarded the Royal Society’s prestigious Michael Faraday Prize for his outstanding achievements in science communication.


Pretty cool award, and here’s the full press release from the Royal Society:

Nuclear physicist wins Royal Society prize for science communication

30 May 2007


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