Daryl Ilbury

Posts Tagged ‘The Guardian’

Dara O’Briain on science writing

In Science on October 12, 2011 at 8:42 pm

Not just a face for comedy

“There is a hunger for science writing and the audience have been fed nonsense for too long”. Such were the words of advice comedian and TV presenter Dara O’Briain gave young science writers at the 2011 Wellcome Trust Science Prize Awards on Wednesday evening.

Of course O’Briain is no stranger to the wonders of science. He is a graduate of mathematics and theoretical physics from University College, Dublin and is a well known and passionate proponent of science, and often takes the role of debunker of pseudoscience in his stand-up routine. He also co-hosted the TV series Stargazing Live with Professor Brian Cox.

Presenting the awards, which he helped judge, O’Briain pointed to the added challenges that science writers face, “knowing who your audience are – are they scientists, are they non-scientists, are they graduates, or are they non-graduates who have an interest in science? Added to this is the question of how much technical terminology do you use?” But he did have some words of encouragement: “Know this, there is a huge audience for science writing, and they are genuinely underserved. They are people who want the adrenalin rush of learning something new, and feeling it embedded in their heads by the way you write it”.

The inaugural Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize, organised in conjunction with The Guardian and The Observer, was designed to find the next generation of undiscovered science writing talent. It attracted almost 800 entries; and, given the quality of the submissions, it seems there is passionate corps of up and coming science writers willing to feed that hunger.

The two prize winners were Penny Sarchet in Category A (professional scientists of postgraduate level and above); and Tess Shallard in Category B (anyone else with a non-professional interest in science, including undergraduate students).

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