Festivals, Cultural and City Events

The Tam Dalyell Prize for Excellence in Engaging the Public with Science

This year’s Tam Dalyell Prize will be awarded to Dr Steve Brusatte, the Chancellor's Fellow in Vertebrate Palaeontology at Edinburgh University.

Dr Steve Brusatte

Originally from Illinois, Dr Brusatte has discovered more than a dozen new species of vertebrate fossils, including a long snouted relative of the T Rex, nicknamed Pinocchio Rex! In 2015, his team announced the discovery of a marine reptile on the Isle of Skye. The giant, long-nosed fish-like animal was hoped to be Nessie’s ancestor but sadly Dr Brusatte explained that the finding was not the species of legend, but was certainly the first distinctly Scottish prehistoric marine reptile.

In addition to his many scientific papers, his popular book Dinosaurs (2008) and last year’s The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs have been received to great acclaim. He also became the resident palaeontologist and scientific consultant for the 2013 film Walking with Dinosaurs.

He is honoured for his ability to tell the stories of the history of the world and to inspire the next generation of palaeontologists, just as he was by Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. In Steve’s words “ I was taught that dinosaurs were big, scaly, stupid brutes so ill equipped for their environment that they just lumbered around, biding their time, waiting to go extinct. Evolutionary failures. Dead ends in the history of life … But these stereotypes are absurdly wrong.”

Steve will be away on an important dig when the prize is awarded, so he has recorded a short lecture, with a complementary presentation by one of his PhD students, Michela Johnson. Michela will also be bringing along a number of rare fossil samples – the ultimate Show and Tell!

The Tam Dalyell Prize for Excellence in Engaging the Public with Science is an annual prize to recognise and reward the University of Edinburgh’s outstanding science communicators in improving our society’s understanding of science. Tam Dalyell was Rector of the University from 2003-2006 as well as an MP, an author and a contributor to the New Scientist for over 35 years.

Sunday 14th April at 6pm in The Playfair Library, Old College, South Bridge, followed by a drinks reception.

Tickets are free but booking is essential