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2017 Mary Somerville Medal and Prize

Dr Jessamyn Fairfield of the National University of Ireland Galway, for stellar work as a speaker and writer on physics for a popular audience, and for having organised and hosted many innovative events bringing physics to the Irish public.

Headshot of Dr Jessamyn Fairfield, winner of the 2017 Mary Somerville Medal and Prize

Dr Jessamyn Fairfield has an extensive and varied track record of bringing physics to the public, including writing, speaking, organizing events, and training other scientists to popularize their work.

She was the blogmaster and lead writer for DARTofPhysics, a 2013 campaign that used adverts on public transport in Dublin and a strong online presence to spark a citywide conversation about physics.

Two years later in 2015, Fairfield produced live events in addition to running the blog and contributing writing to the City of Physics campaign. She also writes her own longstanding blog, Let’s Talk About Science, which is a top Google result for information about electronics.

Fairfield regularly speaks to the public, appearing as a science news contributor to Futureproof, a radio science show airing on Newstalk. She wrote and narrated a short film about nanoscience, called Small World. She has spoken at Pint of Science, Festival of Curiosity, Dublin Maker Faire, Science Gallery, Inspirefest, Women in Physics Belfast, and many other events, and has also given two public lectures for the Institute of Physics in London, in October 2014 and July 2016.

Since February 2015, Fairfield has been the organizer for Bright Club in Ireland. She has run 23 Bright Club events, teaching academics how to use comedy to discuss their work and including a physicist in nearly every show. She trains the speakers and has obtained funding for the project from Science Foundation Ireland, and also hosts these events and has talked about physics in her own standup comedy, including in a solo show performed in Dublin and Galway in 2016.

She is also organizing a Soapbox Science event in Galway for 2017, to bring female scientists into public spaces to talk about their work, and an upcoming series of science workshops for refugee children in Direct Provision.

Jessamyn is the author of the blog Let's Talk About Science