By James Bailey, Head of Communications, Science Museum Group
Earlier this week we celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the Science Media Centre (SMC) here at the Science Museum. For those who don’t know, the SMC connects journalists with scientists across the UK, helping bridge the gap between science and the public and improving the way science is covered in the media. There’s a great video explaining how the organisation works here.
Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum, welcomed Fiona Fox, head of the Science Media Centre, and a 400-strong audience to the museum to hear inspiring stories from scientists, politicians and journalists, on what was Ian’s second anniversary as the Science Museum’s Director.
Sir Mark Walport, the head of the Wellcome Trust and the next Chief Scientific Adviser to Government , spoke about the importance of openness in scientific research, highlighting the impact of the SMC on this area. Racing driver and former science minister, Lord Drayson, discussed bravery and the need for scientists to speak about the importance of their research, especially in a crisis.
Finally, ITN’s Science Editor, Lawrence McGinty, recalled life as a science journalist before university press officers and the SMC. Comparing the SMC to a mobile phone, Lawrence noted life as a science journalist would now be impossible without the Science Media Centre.
A number of well-known scientists attended the party, including Jim Al-Khalili, Professor of Physics and Public Engagement in Science at the University of Surrey, Colin Blakemore, Professor of Neuroscience at Oxford and Professor John Womersley, head of the Science and Technology Facilities Council. The Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willetts MP was also in the audience.
Many journalists were also keen to celebrate 10 years of the Science Media Centre, including Nick Collins at the Daily Telegraph, Alok Jha from the Guardian, Fergus Walsh and David Shukman of the BBC and Clive Cookson at the Financial Times.
After a great 10th Birthday party, we hope the Science Media Centre continues to make a positive difference to the relationship between science, the media and the public.