This week’s Real Scientists curator doesn’t need much introduction. We are delighted to be hosting Alom Shaha (@alomshaha): physics teacher, writer, broadcaster, film maker and associate of the Royal Institution. Alom, who was born in Bangladesh but grew up in England, is well known for his writings on atheism, science and teaching science (found here at The Guardian), performing science shows, public speaking and TV shows. As if that isn’t enough, he’s also the Development Producer for the Royal Institution’s ExpeRImental program, which seeks to develop the natural scientific curiosity of young children by giving them scientific films and experiments to do. The ExpeRimental program also aims to empower parents so that they can help their kids learn and engage in science. With this in mind, this week Alom will be running some experiments that you can do at home, with or without kids, to get you thinking about science.
Alom will be our second high school teacher on Real Scientists and we’re looking forward to discussions with him about teaching and communicating science to different audiences. We did end up asking Alom our usual questions to find out what motivates him and keeps him in science.
How did you end up in science?
I loved Physics and Chemistry at school, mostly because of Mr York and Mr Smith, two amazing teachers.
Why did you choose your current field/what keeps you there?
I’m a Physics teacher. I was lost and directionless after university. I tried a bit of teaching at a US summer camp, found I loved it so trained as a teacher. I later studied for an MSc in Science Communication and went to work in TV for several years. Eventually realised I missed teaching so went back to teaching part-time and carried on making films too.
Tell us about your work?
I spend some of my time teaching physics at a secondary school and the rest of it is split between working for the Ri and various other science communication related activities. Most recently at the Ri, I developed the idea for the “ExpeRimental” video series and produced and directed episodes of the series which aims to encourage and help parents to try out science activities with their children.
Motivation: why should the lay public care about your research/work?
My work has focussed a lot on why science education is important (http://whyscience.co.uk/about/) and how we can ensure high quality science education for all. Good science education not only enriches our lives but improves our life opportunities. Why wouldn’t anyone care about that? 😉 [Ed: winky face is Alom’s own]
Any interesting hobbies you’d like to share?
I read a lot (this is surely the most interesting hobby there is?)
How would you describe your ideal day off? (Scientists are people too!)
Start with a good long run. Spend rest of day in kitchen cooking all my favourite Bangladeshi dishes. Do some reading. Eat dinner with people I love.
Please welcome Alom Shaha to Real Scientists!