This week I speak with Dr Dominic Galliano, physicist and Head of Public Engagement with Research & Teaching at University College London.
Dr Dom tells the incredible story of his journey as a boy from a working class background in Gibraltar who was endlessly curious, to being one of the many incredible scientists across the world striving to democratise science education. Dr Dom managed to get the necessary funding together to begin his MA “Quantum Fields and Fundamental Forces” – he speaks movingly of his perseverance, determination and resilience and also of his “angels” : family members, teacher and friends who helped get him there.
Dr Dom then began his PHD in Portsmouth, along with other mathematicians and cosmologists as they investigated “the start of the universe”. Dom realised that the department was disconnected from the community it was in the midst of, and his work since has been committed to encouraging curiosity in all of us, as he says “science is driven by trying to solve a problem that the world has... This is where hope lies. and to do this we need diversity in all forms to find solutions that are more robust”
We discuss the importance of challenging the prevailing narrative of a scientist being “a lonely man who isn’t human” – and that hope lies too in this year’s Nobel Prize winners, Andrea Ghez was one of three scientists who was awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics for her work on the study of black holes and the discovery of a supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy, and Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering genetic scissors-used to change the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms with extremely high precision. (This technology has revolutionised the molecular life sciences, brought new opportunities for plant breeding, is contributing to innovative cancer therapies and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true.)
We chat about the “eternal hope” which lie in the potential of nuclear fusion and the wonder in the fact that “most of the universe is still unknown to us” , as well as utopia and Dr Doms hope that the future includes “new systems which everyone can benefit from”
You can find Dr Dom on twitter @EngagementDom
And find out more about public engagement at University College London here
And this year’s public engagement award winners here
My book How To Be Hopeful is out NOW! and can be found in all the usual places
Love Bernadette x