Dr Pete Edwards is an experienced science communicator whose job is to co-ordinate and deliver an outreach programme primarily designed to enthuse and engage 9-16 year old school children and their teachers. Pete is a qualified secondary school teacher who taught science and mathematics in various schools and colleges during the 1980’s. In 1986 he left teaching and returned to academia. After obtaining a Ph.D. in cosmic ray physics, he joined the Physics Department in Durham University in 1990 and in 2002 he became Science and Society Officer in the Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics. He was appointed as Director of Science Outreach in 2010. Pete was elected Fellow of the Institute of Physics in 2018.
As Science and Society Officer Pete's interests lie in promoting public knowledge and understanding of the exciting areas of frontier scientific research pursued at the Ogden Centre, involving the local community in the excitement of science. He has developed a range of new resources to help support science teachers in the North East, as well as identifying new routes to engage school children at all stages in their education. He also works as a freelance science writer and has written various articles for Physics World including this book review. If you would like to discuss any particular requirements, or arrange a talk in your school, please get in touch.
The project, originally funded by the STFC, remains the only major Physics outreach programme in the region. Pete undertakes an extensive programme of visits into schools, provides a highly successful programme of demonstrations and talks to the public and specialist groups in the region, and participates in local, national and international activities and events. Since 2002 Pete has visited one in three secondary schools and more than one in ten primary schools in the North East. He has had direct contact with well over 80,000 school children of all ages and, more importantly, with over 1000 of their current and future teachers, reaching an additional estimated audience of well over 25,000 primary school pupils and 700 of their teachers through the distribution of teaching resources produced as part of the overall outreach programme. Pete regularly lectures on behalf of a variety of learned organisations, including the Science Events for Schools' Programme of the Royal Institution and the Institute of Physics, and has been invited to perform at a variety of national science festivals, including the Newcastle Science Festival, the Green Man Festival and the BA Science Festival. Pete was chosen to deliver the 2006 Institute of Physics Schools’ and Colleges’ Lecture nationwide. It is estimated that to date the DVD of the tour has been seen by well over half a million Key Stage 4 students.
Science and Art
As part of the project’s wider science outreach remit, links have been established with the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, the Centre for LIfe and the Discovery Museum in Newcastle, the Dorman Museum in Middlesbrough, and many local Café Scientifiques. Pete has also participated in a series of events for the local community of artists and writers. These were designed to explore the interface between the two cultures of art and science. In addition, he has developed strong links with local branches of the University of the 3rd Age and he continues to provide a varied programme of talks to Amateur Astronomical Societies throughout the UK.
Pete was also consultant astronomer in a joint Durham University / Medical Research Council Clinical Sciences Centre project. ‘Scopic’ was a joint science-arts project for schools. The project questions our perception of the world and invited school children to create artworks based around images from the far reaches of the universe (Telescopic) down to the microcosm of a cell (Microscopic). A panel of judges, including Baroness Susan Greenfield, Dr Brian May, Sir Patrick Moore and Professor Robert Winston, selected work for special mention. The results were showcased in an exhibition at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The children's work is on permanent display in the Calman Learning Centre.
For more information please contact:
Dr Pete Edwards
Department of Physics
Durham DH1 3LE