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Published on 28.11.13

CRANN Postdoc Jessamyn Fairfield wins IOP's 2013 Early Career Physics Communicator Award

This year's Early Career Physics Communicator Award has gone to CRANN Postdoc Jessamyn Fairfield, who helped to create the physics campaign, DART of Physics.

Jessamyn was presented with £250 in cash by television communicator Fran Scott at the final of the awards in London on the 26th of November.

Jessamyn is a Postdoc in John Boland's research group and works on basic physics and device possibilities of random nanowire networks (video link). She also blogs about science at 'Let's Talk About Science' and recently took part in the school engagement programme 'I'm a scientist, Get me out of here!'.

Jessamyn impressed judges with her enthusiasm and her commitment to finding funders for the eight-week advertising campaign- DART of Physics, as well as her ability to explain complex ideas through blogs and other outlets.

She was among four finalists who gave presentations during the event at the IOP's London centre before the winner was announced and each was presented with a certificate on behalf of the IOP Physics Communicators Group, which organised the awards.

In her presentation, Jessamyn said she tried to explain advanced physics concepts in simple language. With some creative thought about how to communicate ideas, it was possible to convey difficult material even to those with no maths background, she said.

After her award was announced, Jessamyn said: “I am very excited and surprised. Science communication can be undervalued by the research community but it’s really important because that’s how you get more scientists and people who are scientifically literate. In my career I want to have a dual focus on research and outreach. This award means that when I go for permanent positions I will be able to demonstrate credibility in science communication.”

As one of the judges, Scott gave feedback to each of the finalists before presenting the prize. In her keynote talk, she described her career in science communication on television, particularly to children, through programmes such as Absolute Genius with Dick and Dom.

She said: “I strongly believe that science itself is not difficult but it’s sometimes presented in a way that makes it overcomplicated. It’s so easy for children to say ‘I am not brainy enough to do science’, and that’s because they’re scared.” Her aim was to remove that sense of intimidation and to build on familiar concepts to engage young audiences.


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