Jamie Gallagher wins FameLab Scotland final

A Chemical Physicist from the University of Glasgow has won the Scotland Heat of FameLab UK 2012, the competition to find the new voices of science communication.

Jamie Gallagher had just three minutes to pitch a complex scientific idea to the panel of judges, which included TV producer, Jonathan Sanderson, writer and comedian Timandra Harkness, Director of British Council Scotland Lloyd Anderson and Glasgow Science Centre Director of Science Robin Hoyle.

Covering topics such as tamping irons as tools for neuroscience, replacing weathermen with sharks, the psychology of speed dating and how we communicate, ten budding communicators from across Scotland took part in the competition held at Glasgow Science Centre.

Jamie wowed the judges with his presentations two presentations, one on toothpaste and titanium dioxide and the other on thermoelectric semiconductors. Jamie wins a place at the UK Grand Final, to be held at the Royal Institution on 21 March 2012. The winner will receive £1000 for themselves and up to £750 to spend on a science communication activity, whether it’s attending a conference, further training or developing a public event or activity.

To prepare him for the final, Jamie will join contestants from across the UK at a weekend MasterClass with Professor of Science and Society and Science communication, Kathy Sykes, and experienced trainer, specialising in media & communication skills, Malcolm Love.

Past winners of FameLab have gone on to travel the globe, perform in festivals and feature on national TV and radio, and many combine public-facing activity with ongoing research. All finalists become part of a global network of science communicators.

Jamie said: “I am absolutely delighted to be through to the final. I have followed Famelab for a few years and am amazed with the talent and ingenuity that emerges every year. I’m honored to be part of the competition. I admit I was nervous at first, watching the other brilliant contestants take the stage but then I remembered just how much I love getting up and talking about science and soon I was eagar for my turn. It is a great and welcoming atmosphere- everyone should give it a go.”

Jonathan Sanderson, judging the event commented on “I'm tremendously impressed by the standard of contestants in FameLab UK this year. I'd screen-test a whole bunch of the Scottish finalists, and Jamie turned in a superb performance to win the heat. FameLab continues to be a first-rate focus and training ground for scientists aspiring to the top ranks of communication. While it's nerve-wracking for participants it also manages to be approachable, which is a delicate balancing act.”

Susan Meikleham, Science Education Coordinator at Glasgow Science Centre added:
“We were delighted to host the Scottish regional heats of FameLab and showcase a hotbed of Scottish scientific talent. FameLab is a great way of breaking down the barriers between scientists and the general public and provides a platform to voice their ingenious ideas. Big congratulations to Jamie on his well deserved win and fascinating scientific idea. I’m confident that Jamie has the scientific X-factor needed to win the Grand Final.”

See photos from the event here.