Full list of judges…

…and some of the reasons they’re participating

Dr David Allan, Principal Beamline Scientist, Diamond Light Source, UK
“It’s important for scientists and engineers to explain their activities not only to their peers but to the general public also. Each audience will need a different approach but, nevertheless, the message should be clear, easy to understand and be completely accurate. Communication with the general public and opinion formers is especially important as non-commercial science and engineering has to be publicly funded and the public will want to see the benefit gained from the work they support through their taxes.”

Dr George Barbastathis, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
“Trying to express a result or concept succinctly and accurately is the best way to expose holes in arguments and make sure doubts are adequately addressed… Communicating between scientists clearly, accurately, and succinctly is the best and only way to foster faster progress.”

Dr Brendan Burkett, Scientist, A*STAR, Singapore

Dr Geoff Burr, Researcher, IBM Almaden, USA
“Good scientists and engineers strive to have a positive ‘impact’ on the world around us. Poor communication of the importance of one’s ideas, discoveries, and inventions is indistinguishable from having had none in the first place.”

Dr Tom Carlson, Research Associate, EPFL, Switzerland and Lecturer, University College London, UK
“Perhaps Isaac Newton saw further by standing on the shoulders of giants. As a scientist, if you don’t want your life’s work to sit on a shelf gathering dust, you need to be able to explain it to the wider world. This means not only persuading your peers of the intricate details, but convincing the scientific community of its importance and the general public of its practical use. If you succeed—giant or not—you will help others to see further.”

Dr Ian D’Souza, Mission Scientist, COM DEV, Canada
“There is a perception among scientists and engineers that because technical writing requires an objective, sober sentence structure to convey unembellished, exact meaning, that it must necessarily be colorless and mind-numbingly dull.  This free-pass to not worry about one’s writing and communication skills keeps good science trapped inside a prison, never to be part of the social thought-stream, and never to be mentioned in civilian conversations. In filling this void, non-technical writers take liberty with adjectives to spark the imagination of people, while technical writers merely chuckle at their inaccuracies from the peanut gallery.”

Dr Leo Irakliotis, Dean for the College of Information Technology, Western Governors University, USA

Dr Robert Jackson, Nicholas Professor of Global Environmental Change, Duke, USA
“Being able to summarize your research in simple language is almost as important as the research itself.  If you can’t tell people why your work is important in a few sentences, they’ll forget about you before they reach the door.”

Dr Kate McGrath, Professor of Chemistry, Victoria University of Wellington, NZ

Dr Steven Niederer, Lecturer, Kings College London, UK