Professor Johnathan Osborne
Professor Osborne is currently the Kamalachari Professor of Science Education at Stanford Graduate School of Education, California. He is also the Chair of the OECD PISA Science Expert Group.
Professor Osborne’s research focus is a mix of work on policy and pedagogy in the teaching and learning of science. In the policy domain, he is interested in exploring students' attitudes to science and how school science can be made more worthwhile and engaging - particularly for those who will not continue with the study of science. In pedagogy, his focus has been on making the case for the role of argumentation in science education both as a means of improving the use of a more dialogic approach to teaching science and improving student understanding of the nature of scientific inquiry. He has worked on four major projects in argumentation. The first from 1999-2002 was on 'Enhancing the Quality of Argument in School Science Education'. From this developed the IDEAS (Ideas, Evidence and Argument in Science Education) materials to support teacher professional learning funded by the Nuffield Foundation. From 2007-2010 he was co-PI on the project 'Learning to Teach Ideas, Evidence and Argument in School Science' which explored how to build teachers competency with the use of this pedagogy in four schools. Most recently, he has worked with Mark Wilson of UCB on a project to develop and test a learning progression for Argumentation in science.
Professor Osborne’s other area of interest in pedagogy is the teaching of reading and the facilitation of discussion. He has published a book entitled 'Language and Literacy in Science Education' and is just completing a five year IES funded project - 'Catalyzing Comprehension through Discussion and Debate' exploring how we can support the teaching of reading in science.
Simon Pollard is a successful children’s book author, spider expert and natural history writer.
Currently Adjunct Professor of Science Communication at the University of Canterbury, Simon is the author of the award-winning I Am a Spider (2004) and I Am an Insect (2002). He is a frequent contributor to Natural History (US), and has written for BBC Wildlife (UK), New Zealand Geographic and Nature Australia magazines. Simon has worked as an advisor and script writer for many natural history documentaries, including The Hunt (BBC, 2015) and Planet Earth (BBC, 2006). His book Dear Alison (2009) won the 2010 Children’s Choice Award for non-fiction at the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards and the 2010 LIANZA Elsie Locke Award, Non-fiction Book of the Year.
The Genius of Bugs was nominated for the Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction at the 2017 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.
Dr Michelle Dikinson (Nanogirl)
Michelle has a PhD in biomedical materials engineering, runs New Zealand's only nanomechanical testing laboratory and is a self-confessed adrenaline junkie.
Her passion for both sports and science has enabled her to travel the world on the search for her next adventure or research project. With specialist knowledge in nanotechnology, Michelle has contributed to the development of cutting edge technologies.
Secretly, however, Michelle has been working on advancing these developments to help her to achieve her childhood dream of becoming a real life superhero. In her spare time you will usually find her outside kitesurfing, cycling, running, paddle boarding, or inside practicing martial arts.
Her recent move to academia from industry was a step towards her goal of inspiring females to push the boundaries in both science and sports, and to encourage environmentally sustainable living through engineering design.
Member of New Zealand Order of Merit Michelle was winner of the Women of Influence award for science and innovation in 2016, was awarded the Sir Peter Blake Leadership in 2015 and was winner of the Prime Ministers Science Media Communication Prize
and the New Zealand Association of Scientists Science Communicators Award in 2014.
Dr Michelle Dickinson uses the popular twitter handle 'Nanogirl' (@medickinson) On a mission to use science for good, not evil
Dr Graham Walker
Since 2001, Graham has taken science to over a million people in Australia and around the world using exciting live science shows, TV, hands-on activities, and workshops for teachers and students.
He’s worked and consulted for big names in Australian science communication including Questacon and CSIRO, while also performing abroad for UNESCO and science festivals and centres in Abu Dhabi, Africa, Jordan, Malaysia, Brunei, China, Saudi Arabia and Singapore.He’s performed at numerous big events in Australia, including the Darwin and Sydney Royal Shows and arts festival Corinbank, and has a ongoing TV spot. He works regularly with the Starlight Foundation, taking science to kids in Australian hospitals. In late 2012, Graham got his PhD in (you guessed it) science shows from the Australian National University – one of two in the world in this specialty area. He enjoys sharing this expertise and regularly conducts science centre staff training and teacher workshops around the world.
Graham believes science centres and science education can make the world a better place, especially in the developing world. He’s traveled many times to South Africa, performing shows, training staff, running teacher workshops and touring an interactive exhibition for over 20,000 disadvantaged students. In 2008 he collaboratively developed a show on HIV/AIDS for South African audiences, which is now part of a science centre based AIDS intervention. In 2013 Graham successfully piloted Science Circus Africa through South Africa, Zambia, Malawi and Botswana reaching over 11,000 people. He then raised over $100,000 to run a full version reaching over 41,000 people and training local teams who are now running programs independently. Graham strongly believes science and its communication can change people’s lives for the better.
He has unique experience working with younger children and families, teenage, and adult audiences. From killer bowling ball pendulums to embarrassing ‘shrinkage’ in freezing liquid nitrogen, his shows are jammed with intriguing science aimed to inspire audiences to laugh, learn, see the wonder of the scientific method and highlight the careers available. Graham loves to craft his own unique props and equipment, including a life-size ultra-flatulent cow, Belching Buttercup, who helps him communicate climate change.
In addition to his PhD, Graham has a Bachelor of Science and a Graduate Diploma in Science Communication from the Australian National University, including a year’s training with the Shell Questacon Science Circus. He’s also worked for the Australian Science Festival and five years with CSIRO Education as their national Marketing Manager. He currently works at the Australian National University on teacher development and international projects in tandem with his freelance activities.
Dr Ken Silburn
Winner of the 2015 Australian Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools.
Seventeen years ago Casula High School was just an average state school in Sydney’s south-western suburbs with just eight students doing science at year 12. But something extraordinary has happened. Two-thirds of Year 11 and 12 students now choose science subjects and they are performing well above the state average. The transformation is largely due to the work of Dr Ken Silburn, the head of science at Casula. Ken has transformed the way his students engage with science, through extension programs, interactive and hands-on activities, and a great deal of encouragement.In the classroom, Ken focuses on what his students are most interested in or fascinated by, and makes it a big part of his science teaching curriculum. A highlight is the use of space science as a core element of the classes.
For his leadership in science teaching, Dr Ken Silburn received the 2015 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools.
Peter Beggs is the Chief Executive of Antarctica New Zealand, a Crown Entity of the New Zealand Government responsible for developing, managing and executing New Zealand Government activities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, in particular the Ross Dependency.
Peter is passionate about supporting scientific research, conserving the intrinsic values and raising public awareness of the international significance of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.
As a veteran of two Antarctic seasons, Peter leads New Zealand's Antarctic Programme and represents New Zealand's Antarctic interests in a number of advisory and governance roles. These include: the Antarctic Heritage Trust's Executive Committee; Advisory Board of the Victoria University Antarctic Research Centre; the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programmes (COMNAP), The Chair of The Antarctica office in Christchurch, and also participates in international Antarctic Treaty discussions.
Before joining Antarctica New Zealand, Peter was a Divisional Vice President for Thales Australia New Zealand. He simultaneously held the position of Country Director for Thales New Zealand, where he was responsible for corporate affairs, general governance and business growth of Thales activities in New Zealand.
Born in New Zealand, Peter studied Engineering then Commercial Law, following which he spent 11 years living in Europe. Largely based in Ireland and the UK, he worked in a variety of technical and commercial roles. The final 5 years of his employment in Europe he held product responsibility across Europe, Australia, South America, Asia, the Middle East and Northern Africa.
More coming soon!