Physicist from University of Oxford announced as UK’s top science communication star at FameLab UK Grand Final

A physicist from the University of Oxford was named as the UK winner of FameLab 2012, the international competition to find the top new science communicator for the 21st century.

Across the country hundreds of engaging scientists, engineers and mathematicians have been competing to make it to the FameLab UK Grand Final hosted by Quentin Cooper, presenter of BBC Radio 4's Material World. Each of the ten chosen finalists took to the stage, which has been host to numerous renowned speakers such as Michael Faraday, HG Wells and David Attenborough, to convey the wonder and relevance of a chosen scientific specialism in just three minutes.

Dr Andrew Steele had just three minutes to pitch a complex scientific idea, to the panel of judges, which included British neuroscientist Professor Russell Foster FRS from the University of Oxford; Andrew Cohen, head of the BBC’s award-winning science unit; and anatomist, science writer and well-known broadcaster Professor Alice Roberts. Each assessed the finalists’ presentations on three qualities: content, clarity and charisma. The event took place at The Royal Institution of Great Britain.

Having beaten off stiff competition in the South East regional heat at Science Oxford Live in November 2011, Andrew battled it out with nine other budding Brian Cox’s from across the UK to win the coveted prize.

During the final, Andrew impressed the panel and captivated the audience with his pitch on quantum mechanics and how it can help us to understand the world around us, right down to the colour of carrots.

Speaking of the competition he said: “I feel really excited to have come this far in the competition. It has always been my ambition to speak at the Faraday Theatre, and to have won an award here is just unbelievable. I really hope that people have come away from tonight’s event feeling as inspired by science as I am.”

Professor Russell Foster, Chair of the judges added: “In my view it has never been more important to invest in science and – critically – communicate scientific progress to the broader non-scientific community.

“Competitions like FameLab introduce us to the next generation of scientists who are not only addressing great scientific challenges, but are able to communicate what they do.”

Andrew will now compete for the ultimate title of International FameLab Champion at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival this year.

View photos of the event here.