The ASC offers the Unsung Hero of Australian Science Communication to honour a person (or group of people) who exemplifies science communication.
The award is intended to recognise those whose contribution has been so significant over a period of time that they should by now have been recognised.
There was an exceptionally strong field of nominees this year. The judging panel commented on the particularly high standard of applications and the excellent representation of science communication across Australia.
The panel chose to recognise two highly commended finalists in the Unsung Hero 2013 Award – Dr Shane Huntington and Frankie Lee. Their citations are included in full below.
Finalist – Highly Commended – Dr Shane Huntington
DR SHANE HUNTINGTON has made an outstanding contribution to science communication over the past two decades.
For 20 years he has been a broadcaster on Melbourne community radio station 3RRR’s science radio program, Einstein-a-Go-Go. In this capacity he has interviewed close to 1000 scientists (73 in 2013 alone) and explained hundreds of scientific concepts to the public. He is a host of Melbourne University’s Up Close podcast program. The program is archived by the National Library of Australia and has been downloaded globally more than 1 Million times. Shane has hosted almost 100 of episodes of Up Close since 2007, helping scientists and engineers to tell their stories through in-depth interviews.
A trained physicist and astronomy enthusiast, Shane, working with Professor Rachel Webster, founded the Telescopes in Schools Program, an initiative to place research-grade telescopes into secondary schools in Melbourne – particularly in low SES suburbs. The program is designed to get students interested in studying science, especially those students who wouldn’t ordinarily consider tertiary education.
Shane has also conducted communication training for hundreds of students and early-career researchers over the last 10 years, and MCs numerous events such as the Three Minute Thesis competition at the University of Melbourne. All of these activities are above and beyond his full-time role at University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, and show his deep commitment to engaging the widest and most diverse audiences for science.
Finalist – Highly Commended – Frankie Lee
FRANKIE LEE deserves recognition for her years of dedication in promoting science and engaging audiences of all ages in science communication events across the nation.
She has worked regularly with both established and “up and coming” science communicators, highlighting their science and connecting them with producers and presenters of radio shows, television shows and large scale events throughout the country
Frankie has worked freelance for organisations as diverse the ABC, Science Alert, Inspiring Australia, Powerhouse Museum, University of Technology Sydney, and TAFE Ultimo. Frankie was a founding member of the Ultimo Science Festival, and has been active for eight years as project manager of many Festival events. She has also been project manager for Science in the Pub events across Australia.
During her time with the ABC, Frankie drove the ABC’s successful science-outreach programs, including Scientists on the Loose (aimed at encouraging final year school students to consider a career in science), and numerous Café Scientific events recorded for later broadcast on Radio National. A lateral thinker, Frankie was instrumental in bringing science outreach to the Woodford Folk Festival, bringing science to an audience completely different to that usually engaged by science outreach initiatives.
In all of this, and much more, Frankie has stayed behind the scenes, brilliantly inspiring and curating events that bring science communicators to the fore. She makes them shine.