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Sykes to bring science to the people

Press release issued: 22 October 2002

Media release
Sykes to bring science to the people

Dr Kathy Sykes Well-known science presenter Dr Kathy Sykes has been appointed as the fifth holder of Bristol University's Collier Chair in the Public Understanding of Science and Technology.

Dr Sykes, only 35 and a Bristol Physics graduate, will seek to communicate scientific and technological research in a user-friendly way to the general public. She will find out what the public is interested in, and concerned about, and find ways of getting scientists to talk face-to-face with them about ethical and controversial issues in science.

The announcement comes during the week the popular science series Rough Science returns to our screens on BBC2. Dr Sykes is one of five scientists who make up the Rough Science team and set out to make science accessible, fun and show that scientists are ordinary people. In this six-week series, which starts on Friday, October 25 at 7.30 pm, the scientists take on the role of gold prospectors, following in the footsteps of those who first plundered New Zealand's south island in the 1860s in their search for gold. The presenter Kate Humble accompanies scientists up and down glaciers, into rivers and real wilderness areas.

Dr Sykes said: 'I'm completely thrilled about my appointment. Bristol University is involved in really exciting research and already communicates about science with the public. But I want to catapult this onto a whole new level, so that talking with the public about science and issues around it becomes an integral part of what our scientists do.'

The Chair commemorates the late Dr John Collier, FRS, FEng, Chairman of Nuclear Electric and a Patron of the University's Campaign for Resource.

Kathy Sykes is Director of Cheltenham Science Festival and a TV science presenter. Awarded an Institute of Physics prize for physics communication in 2000 and voted by Eve magazine as one of the top 20 women of influence in 2002, Kathy regularly gives lectures and workshops and is heavily involved in the communication of science to the public through television, radio, talks and exhibitions. She worked previously for Explore@tBristol as Head of Science.

She will take up her two-year appointment in November 2002.

The first four holders of the post were Professor Peter Cochrane, FEng, Head of BT Laboratories Advanced Research; Dr Sally Duensing, Assistant Director Science and Museum Liaison, the Exploratorium, San Francisco; Sir Neil Cossons, OBE, Director of the Science Museum; and Professor Richard Fortey, FRS, palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum.

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Copyright: 2002 The University of Bristol, UK
Updated: Tuesday, 22-Oct-2002 15:03:02 BST

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