FameLab, the national competition to find the next big thing in science communication reached its finale on Wednesday night in a glitzy event at the Royal Institution.
A quick recap for new readers: the competition began last autumn with regional heats to find the best new science communicators in the country. Over 100 people have taken three minutes to wow a panel of judges with their science, with topics so wide ranging it is impossible to even suggest two to show the diversity. No corner of science has been left unturned, and last night as 10 finalists from all over the country came together to compete one last time, the winner finally triumphed with that age-old gold standard of science: quantum mechanics.
FameLabUK winner Dr Andrew Steele with judges Professor Russell Foster and Professor Alice Roberts
Dr Andrew Steele, from the University of Oxford’s Department of Condensed Matter Physics, took the crown with a presentation on how quantum mechanics can help us to understand the world around us, with an emphasis on why carrots are orange. Andrew has already had some success with science communication of a different type, having been highly commended in Greenwich Observatory’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition last year, and said after his triumph last night “To have won an award here [at the Royal Institution] is just incredible. I really hope people have come away from tonight’s event feeling as inspired by science as I am”. Andrew wins £1000 for himself and £750 for science communication projects and will compete in the International Final at the Cheltenham Science Festival in June.
Runners up Jamie Gallagher and Lucy Thorne at the Royal Institution
Congratulations also to joint runners up Lucy Thorne of Imperial College London with a presentation on the use of viruses in the treatment of disease and Jamie Gallagher of the University of Glasgow for his suggestion of powering cars of the future to save the planet. Nature London met Lucy in December following her win in the London heats and you can read the full interview here, along with our full archive of FameLab content.
FameLab will be at the Cheltenham Science Festival for the International Final in June, then will return for the 2013 national heats in the autumn. If you’ve been inspired to have a go, all the details for entering are at www.famelab.org.