• Question: Who is your favourite science communicator?

    Asked by Hannah on 1 Feb 2024.
    • Photo: Richard Birch

      Richard Birch answered on 1 Feb 2024:

      Everyone will probably say David Attenborough.. except me.
      Nikolai Drozdov presented a series called ‘Realm of the Russian Bear’ which is probably the best natural history epic ever. He is there in the beginning to introduce it, and there at the end to tell you what was coming up next week. For the rest, he just narrates in a delicious Russian accent. That’s how you make wildlife films: about the wildlife, not the presenter.
      I also have a great deal of respect for Chris Packham, who truly knows his stuff and is prepared to get his hands dirty on behalf of nature conservation. So too does Iolo Williams – another presenter who gets his hands dirty, and with a to-die-for Welsh accent this time.
      …and I also remember Sir Peter Scott presenting ‘Look’. He was actually no great shakes as a presenter, and it was all studio-based, but no-one can deny his contribution to wildlife conservation – just go visit Slimbridge!

    • Photo: Nikki Antoniou

      Nikki Antoniou answered on 1 Feb 2024:

      Dr David Whitehouse is probably my favourite as he’s a family friend and he specialises in talking about Astronomy and Space, and has also written many books in those fields. He’s always been a big inspiration for me in learning more about Space, as we grew up with watching his TV appearances, learning about his books and having some good discussions at family parties!

    • Photo: David Bremner

      David Bremner answered on 1 Feb 2024:

      Steve Backshall – Shark and Deadly 60 are presented in a really good way to capture the attention and imagination of children and adults alike while highlighting conservation issues.

    • Photo: Bruno Silvester Lopes

      Bruno Silvester Lopes answered on 1 Feb 2024:

      Mine are David Attenborough and Brian Cox 😊

    • Photo: Estela Gonzalez Fernandez

      Estela Gonzalez Fernandez answered on 1 Feb 2024:

      Carl Sagan and, although better known for his science fiction books, Isaac Asimov, are both two of my favourites Science communicators.
      I’d like to mention a Spanish one who was a great communicator and probably because of him many Spanish kids fell in love with Nature and Biology, Felix Rodríguez de la Fuente.

    • Photo: Kirsty Ross

      Kirsty Ross answered on 1 Feb 2024: last edited 1 Feb 2024 7:53 am

      I have a few, but my top four are:

      Dr Raven the science maven: https://thesciencemaven.com/
      Sam Langford: https://www.scicommwithsam.com/
      Maddie Moate (host of Do You Know on CBeebies): https://www.maddiemoate.com/
      Jamie Gallagher (who also produces a fab range of enamel pins): https://www.jamiebgall.co.uk/

    • Photo: Alexander De Bruin

      Alexander De Bruin answered on 1 Feb 2024:

      I have two – one widely know and one that’s maybe a little biased.
      My favourite well-known communicator is David Attenborough, even though I’m not a biologist I love the passion and engagement that David brings to the natural world and, more recently, sustainability.
      My absolute favourite is my wife, a science teacher who runs a GCSE and A-Level revision chanel on YouTube and TikTok – look up Dr de Bruin’s Science Classroom!

    • Photo: Erin Pallott

      Erin Pallott answered on 1 Feb 2024:

      Steve Irwin was my favourite communicator when I was a young kid. His passion and energy for animals and wildlife was something no one else has ever quite captured.
      Now that I’m looking for a career in science communication, it’s hard to pick a favourite! I’m getting inspired by people’s ability to make science clear, fun and understandable every day!

    • Photo: Penny Timpert

      Penny Timpert answered on 1 Feb 2024:

      Prof Hannah Fry is my current favourite. She shows so much joy as she takes (hammers / rips / explodes / bursts) things apart to show the different kinds of science that go into everyday objects and the different kinds of scientists that make it happen.

    • Photo: Stuart Clare

      Stuart Clare answered on 1 Feb 2024:

      Xand and Chris Van Tulleken do such a great job at explaining medical science to kids in Operation Ouch – we worked with them on a recent episode (‘What a pong’) and I was so impressed at how keen they were get the science just right. Okay, it’s for kids, but curiosity about science and thinking how you can test your hypothesis are crucial to being a scientist and this shows you just how to do this!

    • Photo: Martin McCoustra

      Martin McCoustra answered on 1 Feb 2024:

      I must admit that I’ve always found David Attenborough to be an excellent communicator when it comes to life and environmental sciences. In terms of physical sciences, Jim Al-khalili, is probably my choice. But one of my favourite series was Carl Sagan’s Cosmos.

    • Photo: Sophie Morse

      Sophie Morse answered on 1 Feb 2024:

      Sir David Attenborough I’d say 🙂

    • Photo: Mark Eyles

      Mark Eyles answered on 1 Feb 2024:

      It would be Brian Cox…

    • Photo: Amber Villegas - Williamson

      Amber Villegas - Williamson answered on 1 Feb 2024: last edited 1 Feb 2024 9:17 am

      There are loads of amazing scientists it’s kinda hard to pick a favourite.
      David Attenborough is a legend but I do love Dr Raven Baxter, if you don’t know who she is she’s amazing and even releases science based raps such as #antibodyodyody


      Wipe It Down Rap Parody #stayhome

    • Photo: Kim Nash-Game

      Kim Nash-Game answered on 1 Feb 2024:

      As a child I would say Sir Patrick Moore, watching the Sky at night really ignited my interest in astronomy. Also Brian Cox, as he really broke down the stereotype of scientist for me.

    • Photo: Andrew McDowall

      Andrew McDowall answered on 1 Feb 2024:

      My favourite when I was younger was Johnny Ball, his programs on children’s TV were my earliest memories of science and technology and a must watch, probably to the dismay of my mum who couldn’t me home from school any quicker.

      I still miss Sir Patrick Moore, partly the voice, partly the knowledge and mostly the eccentricity.

      If you’re looking for someone current, then I think Anton Petrov does a fine job online, mainly on astronomy, in a very soothing and approachable way.

    • Photo: Kirsty Lindsay

      Kirsty Lindsay answered on 1 Feb 2024:

      Tom Scott (talk about interesting things and Dr. Becky Smethurst (astrophysistis) from Youtube.

    • Photo: Alberto Granero

      Alberto Granero answered on 1 Feb 2024:

      Marc in het Panhuis – He was my PhD tutor. You can find him at https://panhuis.org/ he does very cool research on surf related science and his speeches are truly motivational.

    • Photo: Jonathan Allen

      Jonathan Allen answered on 1 Feb 2024:

      My favourites are any scientists who are practising science on a daily basis and want to share their amazing discoveries with the wider world. Many of these are not famous and are just ‘doing their job’. As a scientist, I like reading magazines and websites and going to lectures and webinars with other scientists to hear about the less well known work that is going on but is just as important as what is being shown on television. Science organisations are also great at publishing articles on places like LinkedIn to tell us about the amazing work that is going on in their areas.

    • Photo: Karen Adler

      Karen Adler answered on 1 Feb 2024:

      Slightly unorthodox answer: I like the YouTube channel Kurzgesagt, whoever is behind it is very clever! The videos are lovely and very clear to multiple levels, and they cover so many topics!

    • Photo: Georgia Lambert

      Georgia Lambert answered on 1 Feb 2024: last edited 1 Feb 2024 11:23 am

      Dr Erica McAlister – she is the curator of flies at the Natural History Museum in London. She knows all the best insect facts and her interviews never fail to make me laugh 🦟

    • Photo: Philippa Harding

      Philippa Harding answered on 1 Feb 2024:

      It is such a skill to make talking about science clear and exciting to all sorts of different people, I think some people I find who do this so well are David Attenborough who always displays such a clear passion for nature, and Alie Ward who runs a podcast series called Ologies, and every episode is on a different ology (biology – life, gorillaology – gorillas, cosmology – the universe) and every episode she is so excited to learn more, which is what science is all about!

    • Photo: Henry Duke

      Henry Duke answered on 1 Feb 2024:

      Easy one – Brian Cox and Robin Ince. If you have never listened to the Infinite Monkey Cage, you should – easily one of the greatest science shows ever made. Each episode focusses on a specific subject and has a panel of experts in that field plus someone to represent the general public (usually a comedian or an actor). Check it out here:

    • Photo: Zoe Vance

      Zoe Vance answered on 1 Feb 2024: last edited 1 Feb 2024 1:23 pm

      I love Hannah Fry! I got super into the Numberphile channel on YouTube when I was in my last couple of years of school and always really liked her videos, so it’s super cool now that I do science for work to still get to watch her explain things outside of my area. I’m also quite fond of Brian Cox, watching a documentary about space where he was presenting when I was about 11 or 12 is my earliest memory of wanting to work in research science!

    • Photo: Michael Schubert

      Michael Schubert answered on 1 Feb 2024:

      It’s hard to choose just one! I have worked with a lot of great science communicators. One I really enjoyed was Marek Kukula, who is an astronomer. He does a lot of work explaining the amazing things we know about space, stars, planets, and much more! He has even written a book about the science of Doctor Who.

      Because I am a science communicator, I try to learn as many lessons as I can from the great communicators around me. Who is your favourite?

    • Photo: Edward Guy

      Edward Guy answered on 1 Feb 2024:

      Albert Einstein. He communicated highly complex and groundbreaking concepts, and challenged existing scientific theories, through a simple series of images known as his ‘thought experiments’. Einstein had a gift for communicating ideas without having to describe them with words… he communicated through pictures (which is how our brains work best when we are trying to be creative) rather than relying on words.

      Here’s some of the ways he thought about the theory of relativity.

      A man is inside a box in a weightless environment. Someone pulls on a rope attached to the box and as the box starts moving, the man is pressed against the inside of the box and experiences ‘gravity’ where there is none because he is moving. Another man falls from a ladder and while in freefall tries to drop an apple but it doesn’t fall relative to him. So, he experiences a gravity-free environment where there is gravity… because he is moving too!

      A man on a train travelling close to the speed of light passes another man standing on the platform. At that exact moment 2 trees (one is 100 metres behind the train and one is 100 meters ahead) are struck simultaneously by lightning. The man on the platform sees two simultaneous flashes of light but the man on the train sees the flash behind later because the light has to catch him up. Which man’s observation (the stationary one or the moving one) is accurate? Both, of course, so how can two different observations for the same event be explained?

      These are just a few examples. His thought experiments were so amazing that he even came up with one that considered ‘quantum entanglement’ before anyone had even proposed it as a theory!

    • Photo: Jack Webb

      Jack Webb answered on 1 Feb 2024: last edited 1 Feb 2024 3:32 pm

      I always liked Mythbusters as a teen and the series (along with the hosts, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage) definitely inspired me to be a scientist. You can probably find clips on YouTube of some of their best bits – it was just a lot of blowing stuff up and lighting stuff on fire, very entertaining. Also some good science to be learned too!

    • Photo: Chigozie Onuba

      Chigozie Onuba answered on 2 Feb 2024:

      I will say Sir David Attenborough and he is doing a good work when it comes to environmental issues

    • Photo: Rachel Edwards

      Rachel Edwards answered on 2 Feb 2024:

      Maddie Moate, just because I love being able to watch science programmes with my 5-year old :).

      Duncan Yellowlees is someone who I also admire. He does lots of training for scientists in how to communicate, and is very good at helping you to turn boring talks into amazing stories.

    • Photo: Sarah-Jane Potts

      Sarah-Jane Potts answered on 2 Feb 2024:

      There’s too many!! Prof. Biran Cox and Prof. Mark Miodownik are my two idols. Both have been able to show the wonders of their fields outside of their University environments and make it accessible to the world. I would also higly recommend their books as well if you are looking for a great read!

    • Photo: Stephen Miller

      Stephen Miller answered on 5 Feb 2024:

      Tom Scott – I’ve worked with him on three of his YouTube videos:

      After Tom, I’d say Steve Mould was my next favourite.

    • Photo: Sharron Kenny

      Sharron Kenny answered on 5 Feb 2024:

      im with David Bremner on this one as my daughter loves steve backshall and the backshall asaurous

      the way he puts dinosaurs of the past into every day terms. it is something we watch together alot

      other than that i have always liked david attenbrough as he has brought the living world through the screen into so many households

    • Photo: Fergus McKiddie

      Fergus McKiddie answered on 6 Feb 2024:

      Currently, my favourite would be Brian Cox but my all-time favourite would be Richard Feynman. He was a bongo playing, contrary character with a very mischievous sense of humour but he was a brilliant lecturer and had a wonderful way of explaining complex concepts in simple terms.

    • Photo: Emma Weir

      Emma Weir answered on 6 Feb 2024:

      Professor Sue Black! She’s a forensic anthropologist who was based at Dundee University. Her job involves identifying unknown people from their bones/remains and I think its so interesting what she can find out from tiny pieces of bone

    • Photo: Alastair Henniker-heaton

      Alastair Henniker-heaton answered on 12 Feb 2024:

      Brian Cox, Hannah Fry, Steve Backshall, Maddie Moate, Tim Peake

    • Photo: Julie-Ann Hori

      Julie-Ann Hori answered on 12 Feb 2024:

      I know this is totally predicable but… David Attenborough. I grew up listening to his programmes and love how he’s embraced modern technology to get his message across. I’m probably a bit biased too, as I’ve met him and he really is a lovely person.

    • Photo: Marianne Morris

      Marianne Morris answered on 16 Feb 2024:

      I love listening to The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry.
      I follow Prof Hannah Fry on instagram and she’s always got interesting anecdotes to share.

      I also really love Sums of Anarchy for great maths tips and tricks. I don’t know the creator’s name but she is brilliant at communicating maths concepts in a really accessible way – worth following!

      My kids also love Steve Backshall programs – he’s brilliant.

    • Photo: Emma Singleton

      Emma Singleton answered on 19 Feb 2024:

      I have many! But my favourites are David Attenborough, Brian Cox, Iain Stewart and my colleague Saskia Elliot who communicates on all things geoscience on TikTok and can be found @geo.sassie

    • Photo: Isabelle Secord

      Isabelle Secord answered on 26 Feb 2024:

      My favourite science communicator is Dr Charlotte Mykura. In 2017 I was doing my GCSEs and my school took us on a trip to London to attend a series of talks called Biology In Action! Several different scientists came up on stage and spoke about their work, but Dr Charlotte stood out to me as she was the only female scientist to come up on stage. She spoke about her work studying epigenetics and even though it was very technical, I was hooked! After hearing her talk so engagingly about her subject and her work, I wanted to be just like her. She is my favourite science communicator because my younger self was so inspired by her that I decided to go and read books about epigenetics, and it formed the foundation of my personal statement to apply and study Biology at University. I no longer want to be an epigeneticist but hearing Dr Charlotte talk gave me an insight into what it means to be a scientist.