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    UCL Communication and Culture Awards 2015

    By Siobhan Pipa, on 13 May 2015

    Last Thursday saw staff from across UCL gather together to await one of the most hotly anticipated announcements of the year. No not the General Election results – I am, of course, referring to the winners of this year’s UCL Communication and Culture Awards.

    Professor Michael Arthur

    Professor Michael Arthur

    Organised by UCL Public & Cultural Engagement and UCL Communications & Marketing, the awards, now in their second year, recognise the fantastic work done throughout the UCL community in spreading awareness of research and teaching through the media and cultural platforms.

    This can include working on television, radio, blogging, festivals, public events, arts projects and exhibitions.

    (more…)

    UCL’s got talent: a microcosm of communications brilliance

    By Ruth Howells, on 8 April 2014

    Michael Arthur

    What do a supernova discoverer, a sex researcher, a chemistry demonstrator, a doctor of fluid dynamics, a materials scientist/engineer, a toilet festival and a history project about slave ownership have in common?

    As well as being a brilliant microcosm of the breadth of activity and expertise bubbling away at UCL, they were all recipients of UCL Communication & Culture Awards at an event on 2 April in the UCL Bloomsbury Theatre.

    Organised by UCL Museums and Public EngagementUCL Communications and Marketing and the UCL Development and Alumni Relations Office, this is the first time that the awards have taken place.

    They were designed to recognise the hard work that the UCL community put in to sharing their research, teaching and learning through media and cultural partnerships – to include activities such as television, radio, blogging, festivals, public events, arts projects and exhibitions.

    (more…)

    Where are they? Are we alone? And when will we know?

    By Rupert P Cole, on 7 September 2012

    “Dan?  Dan?  Dan? Dan? DAN? DAN? DAN? …” – Alan Partridge

    The search for extra-terrestrial life isn’t exactly a success story. But our incessant desire to find some drives us to look. Wednesday night, a bunch of us crammed into Aberdeen’s Waterstones to hear UCL’s space scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock speak on the current chances of there being life “out there.”

    Maggie’s main job in science has been in engineering satellites and telescopes – a talent she cultivated very early in her life. When she was 14 she built her own telescope, which was 150mm in diameter.

    Besides The Clangers, she told us, this was her first real contact with space. Her enthusiasm and curiosity is inspiring. Recently awarded an MBE for her work in science communication, one of her outreach schemes takes school children on “Tours of the Universe”.

    Luckily for us, then, our guide in our search for alien life had seen the universe, knew the sights, and even the lingo.

    I see myself as a translator, removing the jargon and highlighting the wonder– she remarked in 2006, regarding her role as a recipient of the Science and Society Fellowship she holds at UCL.

    Looking for life in the universe is, I imagine, a pretty arduous task. Since it’s a fairly big area to cover (billions of light-years), and getting bigger all the time, we might reasonably pose the question: where to start? (more…)

    Dissection, Darwin, Dawkins and Dr Death: An interview with Simon Watt

    By Rupert P Cole, on 6 September 2012

    Simon Watt is an evolutionary biologist and all-round expert in science “edutainment”. I caught up with Simon at the British Science Festival. (You can find audio from the interview at the bottom of this post).

    Simon gave two talks at the festival. In “Dissections Uncut,” he ran through some of the material that didn’t make the final edit of Channel 4’s Inside Nature’s Giants – a series he co-presented.

    My personal highlight was the exploding whale video. Yes, exploding. I should clarify that in Simon’s footage no dynamite was used (though this did happen once in Oregan – worth a google). Rather, when whales decompose, gas inside builds up, which can then result in an eruption of organs.

    Let’s talk about sex
    Simon’s other talk, “Sperm Warfare”, took us on a biological ride through the world of sex, from weasels to humans, and many in between. He warned us:

    “At the end of the show you will probably think I’m a pervert.” (more…)