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Trinity Physicist Receives International Award for Public Engagement

Posted on 12 February 2015

Chinese Ambassador Scholarship Juliette Hussey Jianguo Xu Partnerships Soochow Fudan Chinese Studies Xiaochuang WuDr. Shane Bergin, a Senior Research Fellow in Trinity College Dublin's School of Physics, has been honoured by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) with the 2014 Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science. Dr. Bergin, who received his BA and PhD from Trinity College Dublin, was commended for his "remarkable talent for promoting physics to the general public and potential students of physics." He spearheaded the successful DARTofPhysics campaign, which launched in 2013.

The AAAS is an American organisation that works to promote science internationally. It is one of the world's largest and most prestigious general science societies and publishes the well-known journal Science. The Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science was established in 2010 to recognise early-career scientists and engineers who simultaneously promote science engagement and pursue rigorous research careers.

Dr. Bergin's DARTofPhysics programme aimed to generate interest in science and physics among commuters on Dublin's public transport system (the DART). The team comprised current Trinity undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as researchers and lecturers from Physics and the School of Education. Dr. Bergin has made innovative teaching and communication techniques a central focus of his career, while continuing to research and publish in the field of nanomaterials.

On receiving the award Dr. Bergin said, “I’m delighted! I invented DARTofPhysics to spark physics conversations across Dublin. Irish people love to chat and I wanted to encourage them to chat, argue, debate and laugh about physics.”

Professor James Lunney, who nominated Dr. Bergin for the award, said, “DARTofPhysics is a fantastic vehicle to bring the beauty of physics to an entire city. Shane is connecting an entire university department with the public, confronting them with beautiful physics, appealing to the natural curiosity to resolve the leading physics ads, and sparking a city-wide conversation about physics.”

DARTofPhysics recently received funding from Science Foundation Ireland to run a second campaign in Dublin this year.

Dr. Bergin will receive his award at the 181st AAAS Annual Meeting in San Jose, California. More information is available here: