The Words on Wonder concept is simple, I interview a host of creatives, magicians and scientists about their work and how they cultivate & share wonder. They are all people who have inspired me in my own work or just made me go “Wow!”
Marcus Weber is the founder of “Physikanten & Co.”, a team of scientists, actors and presenters. They have already enthralled more than one million spectators with their spectacular and funny physics and science shows. They perform at company events, conferences and schools in Germany, Europe, in the middle and the far east. Physicist Marcus Weber and his team have created many scientific programmes for TV. The impact of the Physikanten’s activities is regularly acknowledged; they were awarded a medal for scientific journalism, presented by the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft and won – three times already – the best demo competition of the British Interactive Group.
Paul Rezkalla is a Graduate Fellow of the Society of Christian Philosophers and works with the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion at the University of Oxford. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy at Florida State University and recently completed a M.Sc. in cognitive and evolutionary anthropology as part of his doctoral research on the evolution of morality. He also holds a MA in philosophy from the University of Birmingham (UK) and a MA in theology from Saint John’s University. Paul loves the English Premier League and plays the oud (look it up!) for the Tallahassee Middle Eastern Ensemble.
Chris Wardle is an experienced primary years teacher who spends his spare time devising magic effects. He has written widely for both magical and educational publications. He has created tricks which have been performed by top professionals on TV, radio and on the stage. He is an award-winning member of The Inner Magic Circle, with Gold Star.
Erica McAlister is Senior Curator of Diptera and Siphonaptera at The Natural History Museum, London, where she has worked here for 15 years concentrating on lower Brachycera, Culicidae and Mycetophilidae. Recently she published a popular science book ‘The Secret Life of Flies’ which won the 2019 Zoological Society of London’s Clarivate Analytics Award for Communicating Zoology. She is the President of the Amateur Entomological Society and has also been awarded an Honorary Fellowship to the Royal Society of Entomology.
Michael de Podesta is 59 years old in 2019. He studied Physics at Sussex University (1978-81) and after almost ‘dropping out’ he went on to finish a PhD there on the arcane properties of metals at cryogenic temperatures. He went on to work as a lecturer in Physics at Birkbeck College and University College before leaving academia in 2000 to work at NPL. His work at NPL is mainly related to temperature measurement, but in 2004 he started Protons for Breakfast, a course on physics for the general public which ran twice a year until 2014. He was awarded an MBE for services to science in 2009.
Science magician Dr Matt Pritchard is a Curator of Wonder. As an independent science communicator he works with over 100 schools and universities a year. Previously Matt conducted atomic physics research at Durham University. He subsequently went on to work within the Education department at Thinktank Science Museum, Birmingham before setting up his own company. In addition to this experience, he has spent the last 20 years working as a professional magician and is an Associate of the Inner Magic Circle - one of only 300 people in the world to hold this distinction.
Tom Pringle (AKA Dr Bunhead) has been a globe-trotting, freelance science communicator for over 20 years and is internationally renowned as a pioneer of performance-science shows and immersive training programmes. He has performed on TV (Brainiac, Blue Peter etc.) and in theatres and schools across 30 countries. He has trained thousands of people (including scientists, students, teachers, technicians & science presenters) in many languages and cultures, across all six inhabited continents. Occasionally, he writes for press, educational journals and books. Tom embraces science, education, physical theatre, dance, puppetry and applied improvisation to deliver innovative and impactful science communication and CPD for school teachers and academics.
Moose Allain is an artist, cartoonist and prolific tweeter. He lives and works in Devon. As well as creating original artworks and prints, Moose’s cartoons feature regularly in Private Eye. He published his own drawing activity book ‘Fill-me-in’ and has provided illustrations for several books including ‘The A-Z of Pointless’ quiz show book. Moose has been involved in a variety of projects, including co-producing the video for Elbow's song Lost Worker Bee, designing murals to decorate the interior of a waxing salon in Mexico City, producing a family guide for the Tate Britain's Lowry exhibition, and a "How To Draw … Anything" guide for The Guardian website. He has appeared on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb and has even been lured onto the stage to do stand up comedy.