Bob Foster, Chair of the BSA’s Bristol and Bath branch, has been announced as the winner of the British Science Association’s prestigious Sir Walter Bodmer Award for Volunteering.

The award is presented annually to volunteers who have made outstanding contributions to the British Science Association’s vision and for actively encouraging others to volunteer their time.

Bob has received this award in recognition of his outstanding dedication to science communication and his work as Chair of the branch since he was appointed three years ago. 

Bob was initially involved with the BSA in 2007 after catching the attention of Eric Albone, who was the Chair of the Bristol and Bath branch at the time. Bob was running science cafés at the Tobacco Factory in south Bristol when the two came into contact.

In 2013 Bob took over as Chair and built up a diverse committee of young scientists and early career science communicators.  He has continued to develop and strengthen the science café movement in Bristol and has established other science cafés in north and central Bristol too.

Bob has made sure the branch has produced a varied programme of activities throughout the year, from the Bristol Science Film Festival to the new Better Humans? Series, which will start this month.

He has also been involved with the British Science Assocation’s digital projects advisory group, representing the branch volunteers to ensure the programmes were relevant and useful to them. 

Bob originally became interested in science at the young age of six when he proclaimed he was an entomologist and started breeding Privet Hawk moths. This interest in the world around him led him to do a degree in microbiology at University of Bristol. After graduating he became a science and maths tutor, which is something he continues to do to this day. 

The award is named in honour of geneticist, Sir Walter Bodmer, former President of the BSA, who in the late 1980s and early 1990s, was instrumental in highlighting the importance of programmes that enhance the public understanding of science.

Sir Walter will present the award to Bob at the annual Volunteers’ Reception at the 2016 British Science Festival, in Swansea in September.

The British Science Association have announced the winner of the award as part of a celebration of Volunteer's Week, which will also see a series of blogs being showcased throughout the week highlighting the important contributions volunteers make to the BSA. 

The Bristol and Bath branch organises monthly science cafes along with ad hoc events throughout the year.  Coming up later this month:

Better Humans? Life extension, June 1st, 8pm at Smoke and Mirrors, Bristol

Festival of Nature, June 11th, 10am at the Harbourside, Bristol

Science of pyrotechnics, June 13th, 8pm at Halo, Bristol

Festival of Nature, June 25th, 11am at Royal Victoria Park, Bath