Cardiff scientist awarded for novel approaches to inspiring children with physics
27 October 2020
Cardiff University’s Dr Edward Gomez has been awarded the Institute of Physics’ Lise Meitner Medal for ‘substantial contributions to physics engagement and raising aspirations of children’.
The Lise Meitner Medal exists as part of the Institute of Physics’ annual Silver Subject Medals, which seek to ‘recognise and reward distinguished contributions to physics’.
Dr Gomez, lecturer in the School of Physics and Astronomy, has scooped the award for his incredible work spanning public lectures, science comic books and the creation of innovative resources used in classrooms across the globe.
He tells us, “sharing my passion for science and inspiring others, particularly in under-represented communities, is one of the great joys of my job. It is wonderful to have this level of recognition from the IOP.”
It’s easy to see how Gomez stood out in this category. As a passionate advocate for making ‘physics accessible to all’, he uses the medium of astrophysics to engage and enthuse the next generation, spanning a whole host of inspirational endeavours.
He has developed many award-winning educational tools to help raise the aspirations of children. This has included the creation of a resource which explores the physics of the stars, and his fundamental work has been cited for helping pupils develop digital literacy at a critical early age.
Leading the Global Sky Partners programme, he has formed educational partnerships in over 30 countries to support children, teachers and the public in using Las Cumbres Observatory’s global network of robotic telescopes. The Global Sky Partners mentor students for publication quality scientific investigations, teacher-training courses and workshops, and citizen science projects.
Such notable achievements have secured national and international funding to lead projects reaching thousands, with a staggering 700K people accessing educational web resources created by Gomez each year.
Showing enduring ingenuity, Gomez has produced the Ada’s Adventures in Science comic books, inspiring young people to achieve their potential by giving them that all-important confidence to participate through asking questions. More than 15K comics were sent out globally and their popularity has led to translation into 5 languages.
Capitalising on his gift as an engaging speaker, Gomez has delivered hundreds of public lectures, and frequently appears on radio programmes and at science festivals. After writing Jack Photon for IOP Physics Storytelling, he has presented the work in both the UK and the US and has delivered his Science of Doctor Who talk to thousands internationally.
As part of this tenacious drive to make physics accessible to all, Gomez has led programmes aimed at bringing the science to disadvantaged children, and at tackling BME and gender imbalance. One such programme is the enormously successful Universe in the Classroom which he co-led, working with 150 primary schools across 6 counties, training over 150 teachers and impacting over 8K pupils.
As a mark of his substantial leadership in engaging the next generation, he is chair of a task force for education within the International Astronomical Union’s Office of Astronomy for Development, which looks at ‘exploring the Universe for the benefit of humankind’, and considers ‘astronomy for a better world’.
We send Dr Gomez our huge congratulations for achieving this award and wish him continued success with his invaluable work.