European Commission honours Irishman’s contribution to Generation Science

18 Nov 2014

A nanoscience investigator from Trinity College Dublin has won the European Commission’s Marie Sklodowska-Curie award for communicating science in a fun way to mentor the next generation.

The award for ‘Communicating Science’, spearheaded by 34-year-old Dr Shane Bergin, included an eye-catching poster campaign about physics called ‘DART of PHYSICS’ on Dublin’s DART (Dublin area rapid transit) trains.

This mass outreach effort involved some 50 scientists and 300 students, and caught commuters’ attention by sparking their curiosities and inviting them to visit the campaign website to continue their physics journey.

Shane created DART of PHYSICS to zap the curiosity of Dublin metro commuters with physics through interactive advertisements.

In 2015 a sister campaign to DARTofPhysics will be running in the London Underground (“Underground Physics”).

Bergin, an investigator at Trinity College Dublin’s School of Physics and nanoscience institute CRANN, is recording a radio show for RTÉ on the impact of science and scientists in Ireland. He is the chairman of the Dublin Science Gallery’s Leonardo group (the gallery’s think-tank).

A simple, but elegant idea

“Shane’s innovative idea, placing posters raising awareness among train commuters of the importance of physics in everyday life, is simple but elegant,” said Dr Claire Belcher, a jury member in her capacity as winner of the award in 2012 and now European Research Council principal investigator.

“It seems to make so much sense to fill one’s commuter time looking up the answer on their advertised website.” 

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions support the career development and training of researchers – with a focus on innovation skills – in all scientific disciplines, based on trans-national and cross-sectoral mobility.

The MSCA will become the main EU programme for doctoral training, supporting 25,000 candidates.

DART image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years