Finalist in IoP Early Career Physics Communicator Award 2016
On 21st November I was invited to the IoP Physics Communicators Group – Early Career Physics Communicator Award 2016 event, having been selected as one of four finalists.
Public engagement is hugely important to so many people in so many ways. If physics research is to continue making new developments and discoveries we need new ways of thinking and fresh eyes. Huge amounts of money is funneled into scientific research yet the majority of the general public are unaware of how this is used and what difference it makes. It is vital that we change this. Physics is for everyone, it doesn't matter how old you are, what your gender is, what ethnic background you have, what religious beliefs you hold or even how rich you are, physics can be enjoyed and appreciated by everyone.
My passion for outreach started in 2012 while I was working at TRIUMF Laboratory in Canada. My younger brother, who was in primary school at the time, came to visit. Despite the fact he had never had a physics lesson at school I was amazed at how I was still able to convey my research as a nuclear physicist to him in a way that sparked an interest and got him asking some really interesting questions. I decided to sign up as a tour guide at the lab taking schools and local residents on tours.
Over the last four years I have designed, developed and run a number of public engagement events from children’s birthday parties to hands-on workshops explaining the electromagnetic spectrum. My aim is to develop a hands-on workshop for every element of the physics national curriculum to provide students with an alternative way of learning, and to help schools that cannot afford equipment. I truly believe that the best way to encourage students to continue studying physics at A-level and beyond is to spark their interest from an early age. Therefore, over the coming year, I also plan to develop new workshops aimed at primary school students to achieve exactly this.
It was fantastic to celebrate achievements in public engagement, and also to meet others who are just as passionate about outreach. I cannot wait to see what 2017 will bring.