By Sabah Adams, Engagement Officer at the British Science Association



This blog is part of a series of ‘Volunteer spotlights’, released during Volunteers Week, to celebrate and highlight the important contributions that our volunteers make to the BSA.

The British Science Association’s branch members form a widespread network of contacts, expertise, creativity and a passion for engaging the public with science, and help us extend our reach across the UK. 

Steven Farkas is a volunteer and committee member of the Oxfordshire Branch, who organise monthly SciBarswhich are free talks in the pub (St Aldates Tavern, Oxford) usually on the third Wednesday of the month. It’s an informal and friendly setting aimed at a general audience. The Branch also produces podcasts of each event which are free to download from their website, or from iTunes. 

Steve has been volunteering with the Branch for three years, and during this time, he has made a significant contribution to their work. He has managed and trained the volunteer team to record podcasts of the SciBar sessions, allowing the Branch to build up a database of talks. Steve has also helped the branch to set up their own website, and live tweets from their events, all of which has helped the Branch to reach a wider audience. Steve is not a professional scientist, but his immense, valuable contribution to the Branch demonstrates that anyone can be an ambassador for science – enthusiasm and passion is all that’s needed!

“I actually have no background in science whatsoever, and in fact, I was one of those students who stopped taking science in school as soon as I could. I studied Political Studies and Economics at University in Canada and didn't retain much of a curiousity or interest in science while I was studying.” said Steve.

“That all changed when I met my current partner, who was studying for a PhD in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, whose unbridled enthusiasm and passion for science couldn't help but rub off on me. One of the best things about my volunteer experience has been watching our SciBar events grow from just a few friends in the pub, to having a large crowd of regular attendees, and attracting high profile speakers.”

The Oxfordshire Branch’s next SciBar talk, ‘Why I don’t ‘believe’ in global warming’, is on 17 June. This talk by Adam Levy will explore the key scientific evidence behind climate change, and explain why perspectives on climate change shouldn’t be a matter of belief.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Steve for his continued support of the British Science Association.