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Tales from the watercooler



The British Science Association’s former CREST Star National Programme Coordinator, Dylan O’Sullivan has become World Hepatitis Day Project Coordinator at the World Hepatitis Alliance. Also leaving the Association is the Press Assistant Louis Stupple Harris, who is now in NESTA’s Innovation Lab. Former British Science Festival Assistant, Deborah Waller is off to the Ri. After more than a decade raising funds for the Association, Director of Development Philip Wilson will also leave in the New Year.

Simon Levey has switched roles at Imperial College and is now Research Events Manager.  Charmaine Griffiths moves from Multimedia Director at the British Heart Foundation to become their very grandly titled Director of Strategy, Planning, Performance and Assurance.

Sciencewise’s Beth Chesney Evans has announced her impending retirement in February next year. Suzanne King formerly of research outfit People, Science and Policy, and a past member of the People & Science Editorial Committee, has decided to go it alone as a self-employed policy researcher and consultant.

Having clocked up an incredible fourteen years of service in a variety of roles, the Royal Society’s Aosaf Afzal left the august body in the Autumn.

The Natural History Museum’s former Head of Innovation and Special Projects Bob Bloomfield is now the Alternative Development Advisor at Edward Andersson leaves Involve to return to his native Sweden and is replaced by Amy Pollard. Science Lecturer at UCL, Karen Bultitude has given birth to a baby boy.

Much has been a-moving and a-shaking in the West Country at the Cheltenham Science Festival. Firstly, one of the Festival’s 2006 Famelab finalists is now the new Senior Programme Coordinator. Mark Lythcoe and Kathy Sykes have stepped down from co-directing the Festival and are replaced by broadcaster and self-confessed 'Professional Geek', Adam Rutherford. And in its latest claim on world domination of the global festival scene, Cheltenham has recently signed a contract with partners in Qatar to set up the country’s first ever science festival, under the leadership of Frank Burnet.

I too am moving on. This is the last time I shall be lurking around the water cooler bringing you snippets of science communication news.


Much to the joy of an unsuspecting crowd of physics enthusiasts at the last British Science Festival in Newcastle, Professor Physics himself – Brian Cox – put in a surprise appearance to talk about planets, galaxies, the universe and everything. Meanwhile, not one but two science correspondents from the national press reporting from the Festival were clearly trying a spot of time travel themselves in copy they wrote for their respective rags after a press reception. They said that they in fact were at the British Science Festival in Birmingham, not Newcastle. Merely rubbing shoulders with the esteemed particle physicist coupled with a few free beers can catapult you forward in time to next year’s Festival.


Shortly after the British Science Association’s new president Lisa Jardine was quoted saying she believes the BBC is dumbing down its science coverage, we learned that Newsnight was making its science editor redundant. The long-serving Susan Watts is leaving in the latest suite of changes at the BBC2 news programme. She will be under no illusion as to how highly regarded she is amongst her peers following the huge swathe of support she has received on Twitter and elsewhere. Interestingly, she was made redundant by Newsnight’s new editor Ian Katz who, in his stint at the Guardian, was responsible for appointing a science editor.


The loss of Susan as a woman broadcaster from screen science calls to mind journalist Sue Nelson’s recent Twitter spat with comic and presenter Dara O’Briain. Sue wrote an article in the Telegraph condemning what she sees as a ‘laddish, macho presenting culture’ taking over TV science, and caused a lot of heated discussion amongst scientists and science communicators alike.

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Barrie Cadshaw
In the manner of Elvis, Barrie Cadshaw has left the building. Thank you very much.
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