Neutrino physicist takes communication prize

21 November 2012

Dr Ben Still, Research Associate and particle physicist from Queen Mary University London, has won the Institute of Physics’ (IOP) Early Career Communicators’ Award for the exciting and innovative projects he has undertaken to share his love of physics.

The prize-giving event, on Tuesday 20 November, saw four nominees give short presentations on the nature and success of their communication projects.

Nuclear physicist and TV celebrity, Professor Jim Al-Khalili, and IOP’s Curriculum Manager, Clare Thomson, were impressed by the novel and innovative methods for communication that Ben has pioneered.

Clare Thomson, Curriculum Support Manager at IOP and one half of the judging panel, said, “The physics communication initiatives that Ben has undertaken are very creative, unusual and varied. 

“From working with artists to convey the scale of the T2K physics experiment in his Super-K Sonic Booooum! Project to his LEGO-based Build Your Own Universe, he has reached a wide range of audiences and successfully shared his love of physics.”

Ben used his ten minute presentation to describe to an audience of approximately 50 spectators the nature of his outreach projects.

Ben opened his presentation with a description of Super-K Sonic Boooooum!, a project undertaken in collaboration with designer Nelly Ben Hayoun that has resulted in a particle physics-themed art installation in a London night club.  

He continued with description of Jiggling Atoms, a project involving 25 dedicated artists over six months that resulted in visual interpretations of complicated particle physics concepts, and LEGO Physics, using the popular toy in workshops and in the design of teaching materials to help explain the construction of the Universe.

Describing his love for physics communication, Ben said, "Science communication and outreach is a two way benefit, scientists get as much out of it as the audience – at least I hope the audience do! I feel that it is important for me to try and give back some of the encouragement, enthusiasm, and enlightened education that I was lucky enough to receive because without it I would not be where I am today."

Ben was competing against three outstanding physics communicators – Creator of the Inflativerse Evelyn Johnston, Famelab winner Andrew Steele and ‘badass hippie scientist’ Julian Stirling - who were all highly commended by the judges.

You can find out more about all of them via www.iopblog.org.  



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