Jim Matthew Lecture
Like many physicists in the UK of my generation, Jim Matthew was a huge inspiration to me, both as a teacher and researcher as well as a communicator of physics. It is therefore a great honour for me to be delivering the first Jim Matthew Lecture after he sadly passed away.
Science communication has of course changed out of all recognition over the past couple of decades that I have been actively involved in it. In this lecture I will chart my own personal journey in becoming a ‘public scientist’ while never wishing to sideline my academic career in teaching and research – indeed, following very much in Jim Matthew’s footsteps. I will also discuss how and why science communication in the UK has undergone such a revolution, to the extent that we now lead the world by a decade or more in the public engagement in science, from communicating and debating the vitally important ways in which science is needed to address the challenges of the 21st century to the outright fascinating discoveries still being made about the workings of our universe.
Professor Jim Al-Khalili
Jim Al-Khalili OBE FRS is a theoretical physicist, author and broadcaster based at the University of Surrey where he holds a joint chair in physics and the public engagement in science. He received his PhD in nuclear reaction theory in 1989 from Surrey and, after holding several prestigious research fellowships, was promoted to professor in 2005. He has written twelve books, translated into over twenty languages – including, later this year, his first novel. He is a regular presenter of TV science documentaries and presents the long-running weekly BBC Radio 4 programme, The Life Scientific. He is a recipient of the Royal Society Michael Faraday medal, the Institute of Physics Kelvin Medal and the inaugural Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication. He was awarded an OBE for services to science in 2007 and made a fellow of the Royal Society in 2018. He is the current president of the British Science Association.