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FameLab 2016: Bert Vercnocke crowned new face of science
Science is everything but boring. The living proof lies in Bert Vercnocke’s enthusiastic pitch on string-theory. With this pitch he outshined 11 finalists during the national final of FameLab, the biggest science communication competition in the world. As a result, Bert has become the new face of science 2016 and will represent the Netherlands during the international final at Cheltenham Science Festival in the United Kingdom. He will compete against finalists from thirty countries worldwide.
Over the past months, hundreds of young scientists and engineers have presented a scientific concept to a general audience during several regional heats across the Netherlands at the University of Amsterdam, VU University Amsterdam, University of Groningen, Leiden University, Radboud University, Wageningen University & Research Centre and University Utrecht. It was not about dumbing it down so a two-year-old could understand it but rather about bringing it to life that makes people want to love it. The FameLab regional heats resulted in twelve national finalists. Ultimately it is Bert Vercnocke, postdoctoral researcher in theoretical physics at the University of Amsterdam, who the judges crowned the winner.
Make sure to pay a visit to the 'De Kennis van Nu' website and watch the short videos of the finalists explaining science in such a way, that anyone can understand it.
FameLab aims to discover charismatic, up-and-coming scientists who inspire people to see the world from a new perspective… in just three minutes! Since its birth at the Cheltenham Science Festival in 2005, FameLab has grown into arguably the world’s leading science communication competition. A partnership withthe British Council (since 2007) made FameLab expand to 30 different countries. With more than 7000 young scientists and engineers participating so far.
Communicating science accessibly and attractively is an ever-growing priority for researchers worldwide. FameLab helps young scientists acquire valuable skills to communicate their work to non-scientific audiences. By doing so, researchers not only challenge common stereotypes of scientists, but also help to justify public funding for their research.
Previous FameLab editions in the Netherlands
FameLab started in the Netherlands in 2014 with the University of Groningen and Wageningen UR. Pádraic Flood was crowned as winner of the national FameLab final as well as the International FameLab Final in Cheltenham with a presentation about photosynthesis. Take a look at the winning presentation and all other presentations of the 2014 FameLab Final.
In the second year FameLab heats were held at 4 universities across the Netherlands at University of Groningen / Science LinX, Leiden University, Radboud University / Radboud UMC and Wageningen University and Research Centre. Marcia Goddard won both the NTR Audience Award and the FameLab 2015 overall prize with a moving talk about the neuroscience behind autism. The jury members commented on Marcia's excellent use of analogies, her ability to engage with the audience and her passion for science. Since winning FameLab Netherlands in 2015, Marcia has enjoyed a host of opportunities. All 3-minute presentations from the 10 Finalists are viewable on vimeo.
In 2015, public broadcaster NTR and 'De Kennis van Nu' followed the FameLab finalists and made a TV programme about FameLab Netherlands. You can watch the journey of last year finalists on De Kennis van Nu (broadcasted on NPO 2, 22 April).