William Thomson, Lord Kelvin medal and Prize

Wendy Sadler of Science Made Simple, Cardiff University, for establishing Science Made Simple, which has reached more than 750,000 people with live performances promoting the relevance of physical sciences to society and careers.

Wendy Sadler is the founding director of the award-winning enterprise Science Made Simple (SMS), which specialises in engaging audiences with the physical sciences.

Since starting out by herself in 2002 with a passion to communicate physics to the public, SMS has grown and evolved into a hugely successful business, reaching over 750,000 people and employing 14 staff members in four UK regions. Using a blend of popular culture, entertainment and education, they create interactive shows to inspire the next generation, while also highlighting the relevance of physics to everyday life and careers.

Sadler is a leader in reducing the barrier faced by under-represented groups, and is currently working with WISE and the National Science Academy on how to assess the impact of gender initiatives.

Her work has also had international impact in many developing countries. She set up a STEM competition in Kazakhstan, trained scientists across south-eastern Europe, and headlined SciFest Africa with a keynote talk on how science communication can change the world. SMS has worked in more than 30 countries all over the world, and is currently part of a multimillion pound EU project investigating the use of performance as a tool to engage young people with science and society issues.

Sadler is also a lecturer for Cardiff University, where she has embedded physics engagement into a new undergraduate module. She has pioneered new formats for physics communication, including the internationally acclaimed theatre show The Experimentrics, a non-verbal blend of physical theatre and physics demonstrations. For many years she has trained IOP members with outreach courses to help physicists engage with more diverse audiences.

Sadler is also an advocate for the importance of physics and physics education within government policy. She is an excellent role model for young scientists, and an extraordinary ambassador for physics.

In 2002 Sadler became the youngest ever person to give the IOP National Schools Lecture Tour, in 2004 received a WISE excellence award, and in 2007 was named as a laureate in the EU Descartes Prize for Science Communication. She was awarded an MBE in the 2017 Queen’s birthday honours.

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