2014 Kelvin medal and prize

Professor Tim O’Brien and Dr Teresa Anderson, The University of Manchester. For their innovative approach to public engagement with physics through the creation of a new Discovery Centre at Jodrell Bank and the development of an education programme that reaches 16,000 school children every year.

Kelvin Anderson

Over the last eight years Teresa and Tim have used the Jodrell Bank site to create a highly effective hub for the promotion of physics including the development of a hugely increased national media profile.

Teresa secured funding and oversaw the construction of a new Discovery Centre in 2010, becoming its inaugural Director at opening in April 2011.  Tim created the Centres innovative exhibition, drawing on research across the world to ensure the highest level of engagement with physics. The Centre has won awards each year since opening and visitor numbers are now 140,000 a year.  A new education programme was launched in 2011. This now delivers hands-on physics sessions to 16,000 school pupils each year. Demand is so high that the University of Manchester is investing in an additional building, doubling capacity over the coming years.

In order to reach diverse audiences, the Centre developed an innovative new events programme, including the ‘Live from Jodrell Bank’ science-music festivals. Piloted in 2011 and repeated each year since, these engage thousands of festival-goers with a wide range of science (predominantly physics) research. This has included the LHC, graphene, photon science, the physics of music and much more. 

Alongside this Tim delivers talks from the main festival stage, discussing latest research and including live link-ups to observatories worldwide. Since 2011 these festivals have reached an audience of around 45,000 young adults. The Centre has also piloted new approaches to engaging girls with physics via its popular ‘Girls Night Out’ events.