Professor Jo Barnes gets scientific on her 'Soapbox'

Issue date: 29 May 2015


UWE Bristol's resident air quality expert, Professor Jo Barnes, has been selected to take part in the Bristol's Soapbox Science event, to be held in Millennium Square, 14:00 – 17:00, on 7 June.

Now in its fifth year, Soapbox Science is a public participation event that highlights and promotes the role and work of women in scientific discovery and research. Held across seven cities on a selection of dates from 30 May to the 27 June, the events transform public spaces into an arena for learning and scientific debate; following the format of London Hyde Park's Speaker's Corner.

Cutting edge, real-life scientists, stand on soapboxes on busy urban streets and talk to passers-by about their research, share their knowledge, passion and thirst for the advancement of science, as well answer the public's questions. People will have the opportunity to learn from, heckle, question, probe, interact and be inspired by the remarkable women in science.

Bristol's Millennium Square will be transformed into a hub of scientific debate as some of the UK's leading female speakers take to their soapboxes to showcase science to the people of Bristol and the surrounding area.

Jo Barnes, says, “It's a real honour to be selected as the only representative from UWE Bristol to speak alongside other female scientists from a wide range of subject areas. For me though, the event is not just about promoting women in science, it's also a fantastic opportunity to raise public awareness about my research area, air pollution.

“We know that air pollution is the world's greatest environmental health risk and that nearly 30k people a year die early as a result of exposure to air pollution in the UK. The main source of air pollution in our towns and cities is from road traffic, but the problem is largely invisible, so I want to help people understand that the transport choices they make are affecting their health and that of their families.

“It's not meant to be preachy though, they'll be plenty of opportunity for public engagement with a number of activities and props to entertain and inform the audience, as well as opportunities for questions. To be honest, I'm really looking forward to it – I just hope there will be plenty of people there and that the sun is shining!”

Soapbox Science is a nation-wide initiative, which aims to bring science to the people and challenge gender stereotypes in science careers. Soapbox Science events are part funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), and the Natural and Environmental Research Council (NERC).

For more information on the Soapbox Science Bristol event, please visit the website, where information on other Soapbox Science events, as well as the platform itself, is available.

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