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Virtual city walking tours win Tam Dalyell Prize

A series of virtual tours exploring the city of Edinburgh’s role in the history of science, technology and medicine has been recognised with a University award for public engagement.

Dr Niki Vermeulen of the School of Social and Political Science led a talk about the project, Curious Edinburgh, before receiving the Tam Dalyell Prize for Excellence in Engaging the Public with Science.

The University accolade is given each year to an outstanding science communicator.

Winners are honoured for activities such as hosting school visits, public events or through publishing and broadcasting.

Rich history

In the 2018 Tam Dalyell Prize lecture, Dr Vermeulen and colleagues delivered a taster of their range of virtual walking tours, which explore Edinburgh’s role in the history of science, technology and medicine.

They also shed light on plans for the project, how it connects with Edinburgh’s local communities, and taps into the city’s international connections.

Curious Edinburgh participants tour Edinburgh by foot or public transport, using a phone app.

Prize legacy

The Tam Dalyell Prize for Excellence in Engaging the Public with Science, first awarded in 2008, is named in honour of the former MP and enthusiastic science communicator.

Dr Dalyell, who died in 2017, was a former Rector of the University and had contributed a weekly column to New Scientist magazine for 36 years.

Previous winners of the Prize include the late Professor Jon Oberlander of the School of Informatics, Professor Sethu Vijayakumar of the School of Informatics, Professor Clare Blackburn of the College of Medicine and Dr Amy Hardie from Edinburgh College of Art.

The sell-out Tam Dalyell Prize Lecture took place at the Playfair Library on Sunday, 15 April, the final day of the Edinburgh International Science Festival.

I am very honoured to receive the Tam Dalyell Prize for Curious Edinburgh. It is a wonderful recognition of our work and it is helping us to continue and expand the project. Edinburgh has so many interesting stories to tell, and we hope that people will view the city with different eyes after knowing the important role it has played in the history of science, technology and medicine.

Dr Niki VermeulenSchool of Social and Political Science

University at the Festivals

Edinburgh International Science Festival