2012 Bragg medal and prize

Professor Katherine Blundell, University of Oxford

For promoting engagement in and learning of physics both by carrying research in astronomy into schools in developing countries and by helping graduate students and postdocs in the UK to talk to schoolchildren about their science.

Katherine Blundell initiated and leads an innovative project, called Global Jet Watch. The project has built observatories at boarding schools in South Africa, Chile, Australia and India and trains pupils as observers so these observatories can take data round-the-clock.   In this way long-term high-cadence monitoring of accreting black holes and neutron stars is achieved. Consequently the project has engaged the energy and enthusiasm of schoolchildren to gather the data required to understand some of the most exotic objects in our galaxy.

Back in Britain she has run a workshop (the "Future Science Leaders' Seminars") for PhD students and junior post-docs from across the UK to train them in research techniques and communication skills to go out into high schools themselves and talk about their science and engage the next generation of UK scientists.

She is committed to clear communication to all and has given numerous talks in environments that vary from schools in developing countries to Chatham House, and has written extensively in specialist literature and in books.

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