The British Science Association (BSA) have today revealed the cohort of Honorary Fellows for 2019 – the highest honour that the BSA can confer on an individual 

Accepting this prestigious accolade this year are: 

  • Angela Saini, author and journalist;  
  • Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Upon Tyne Central; 
  • Rt Hon the Lord David WillettsChair of the Huxley Summit Advisory Board; and 
  • Dr Helen Czerski, Physicist and broadcaster. 

Each year, supporters of the BSA are invited to nominate individuals to be considered as Honorary Fellows. These are people who embody the BSA’s vision and mission, making an outstanding contribution to promoting science and public engagement, as well as supporting the organisation’s goal of putting science at the heart of culture and society. This could be in a variety of ways, such as: bringing science to the public in a clear and engaging way; challenging the stereotypes of what a scientist looks like; and furthering the inclusion and diversity of science in society 

Previous Honorary Fellows have included Sir David Attenborough, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, Dr Helen Sharman, Professor Alice Roberts, Sir Paul Nurse andWayne McGregor. 

Angela Saini, journalist and author, said:  
“It’s a great honour to receive this award from the BSA. I believe we can improve the public face of science by showing a holistic picture of it, including its flaws as well as its benefits. Through my work I have been fortunate enough to tell the hidden stories of science and I’m thrilled to be an Honorary Fellow of an Association that champions this work.” 

Chi Onwurah MP said: 
“After working alongside the British Science Association on their diversity and inclusion work, I’m thrilled to be a recipient of an Honorary Fellowship. I want to ensure that everyone in the UK has the opportunity and skills to question, influence, and benefit from science, engineering, technology and maths. I’m excited to continue working towards this goal with the BSA in the future and I’d like to thank them for this recognition.” 

Lord David Willetts said:  
“I thoroughly enjoyed my term as Chair of the British Science Association, and am particularly proud of what we have achieved – and continue to achieve – together through the Huxley Summit, which is creating opportunities to bring leaders from science, politics and business together to discuss the greatest challenges of our time. I look forward to supporting the BSA, as it strives towards its vision of a world where science is at the heart of society and thank them for the honour of this Fellowship.” 

Dr Helen Czerski, physicist and broadcaster said:  
“Science and society weave around each other as they both progress, and the question of how to build the relationship between them has rarely been the subject of meaningful and inclusive debate.  Our technological society is grasping for ever-deeper control of both the human body and our shared planet, and we need to make long-sighted collective decisions about how to manage this transition.   But this can only happen if everyone feels included in the process of science. Effective leadership in this endeavour is absolutely essential, and I’m a long-term supporter of the BSA’s impressive work in this area. I’m delighted to have been awarded an Honorary Fellowship.” 

Katherine Mathieson, Chief Executive of the BSA, said:  
“I’d like to extend my congratulations to this year’s Honorary Fellows and acknowledge the significant contribution all four have made in helping the British Science Association achieve its vision. These individuals work to improve access to science for under-served audiences and champion diversity in science, using their skills, expertise and public profile to bring science to the lives of everyone. I look forward to the BSA continuing to collaborate with them in the years to come.”  

Chi Onwurah is an MP for Newcastle Upon Tyne Central and is Shadow Minister for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. She has campaigned to make ICT and engineering more accessible to all, particularly girls, and to bring engineering and ICT jobs to the North East. She was the Chair of the APPG in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in STEM, which the BSA acts as the secretariat for, before Parliament was dissolved for the 2019 General Election. 

Angela Saini is a science journalist and author. She has published several books looking at the inequality in science and society, with her latest title Superior: the return of race science being published in May this year. She has also been a host on BBC’s Eugenics: Science Greatest Scandal. She was also involved in the British Science Festival this year, where she spoke about the themes and topics that are explored in her writing. 

Lord Willetts is the President of the Resolution Foundation’s Advisory Council and Intergenerational Centre and is a visiting Professor at King’s College London. He served as the Member of Parliament for Havant (1992-2015), as Minister for Universities and Science (2010-2014) and previously worked at HM Treasury and the No. 10 Policy Unit. Lord Willetts was the Chair of the British Science Association between 2015-2018 and remains involved with the British Science Association through his role as Chair of the Huxley Summit Advisory Board. 

Helen Czerski is a physicist, oceanographer, writer and broadcaster, and her research (at University College London) focusses on the physics of ocean bubbles. She has presented numerous documentaries for the BBC over the past decade, exploring the physics of everyday life and the intricacies of Earth’s atmosphere and ocean.  Her science columns in Focus magazine (2012-2018) and the Wall Street Journal (2017 onwards) have brought a wide range of everyday physics to the attention of the public.  She is a Trustee of Royal Museums Greenwich, and has a passion for highlighting the importance of Earth’s ocean for our species. 

You can view the full list of BSA honorary fellows here.