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Public engagement and media big hitters join British Science Association ranks

Public engagement and media big hitters join British Science Association ranks

Dame Athene Donald, Robin Ince and Dr Steve Cross named Honorary Fellows; Dr Ben Goldacre joins Council.

The British Science Association (BSA) has awarded Honorary Fellowships to Professor Dame Athene Donald, comedian Robin Ince and Dr Steve Cross.

Each year, members of the BSA are invited to nominate individuals to be considered as Honorary Fellows.  These are people who have made an outstanding contribution to promoting science, or who have engaged and inspired people directly through science.  Athene, Robin and Steve join the Association’s illustrious rank of Honorary Fellows alongside individuals such as Sir David Attenborough, Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Professor Brian Cox, Lord Browne of Madingley, Professor Marcus Du Sautoy and Professor Alice Roberts. 

Professor Dame Athene Donald said:  “I am honoured to have been awarded an honorary fellowship by the British Science Association. The BSA's vision of a society that embraces science as an integral part of its culture, moving beyond traditional definitions of science as some separate activity, is a terrific challenge for the future. I hope this vision will inspire more people from all kinds of diverse backgrounds to become interested in science in its broadest sense, including how it affects their daily lives.”

Dr Steve Cross said: "I've spent 12 years professionally helping scientists share their work with members of the public. Sometimes it's great fun, sometimes it's hard work, but it's always really rewarding. Over that time it's been great to see scientists letting go of the old-fashioned idea that people should find their work automatically interesting and instead working hard to make themselves accessible and engaged. I've worked with the BSA for a few years on really interesting programmes from science-themed speed dating to networking scientists who want to engage with people better; I'm really looking forward to helping them grow a huge new community of science enthusiasts." 

Imran Khan, Chief Executive of the BSA, said: “I am delighted that we are welcoming Athene, Robin and Steve as Honorary Fellows of the Association.  Over long and established careers, each has made a significant contribution to science in society and promoting science as engaging, inspiring and inclusive - and of course, funny. They are terrific advocates for broadening the appeal and definition of science and diversifying its audiences; I look forward to working with them in the future as we look to take science beyond 'the usual crowd'.”

The three new Honorary Fellows will be officially presented by the BSA President for 2014/15, Sir Paul Nurse, at the annual dinner at this year’s British Science Festival. Booking for this year’s Festival, which takes place at University of Birmingham between 6 – 11 September, is now open.

Meanwhile, Dr Ben Goldacre is joining the BSA’s governing body (Council).  His trustee term will start this September.

Dr Ben Goldacre said: "The world of public science is changing fast. Anyone can engage with the public, and this presents new challenges, but huge opportunities. There is now a vast army of nerds who are popularising science online and in pubs, theatres, cafes and more. They are often able to do pop science better than the big names of mainstream media. I look forward to working with the BSA to give this nerd army the respect, support, and love it deserves."

Khan continued: “Ben joining our board is a big step for the Association. Ben has made a name for himself in highlighting the misuse of science and statistics by journalists, politicians, the media, drug companies and being an important voice on science communication and policy. I hope he'll keep the Association on its toes and be an advocate for our new vision and objectives, making sure we achieve our aims of creating a more scientific society.”

The BSA has two upcoming vacancies for appointed trustees and is looking for individuals who are passionate about the role of science in society to help guide, promote, and govern the Association with the launch of its new vision in September.

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