September 20, 2018, by jicke

Sir Martyn Poliakoff wins American Chemical Society award for science communication

Sir Martyn Poliakoff has been recognised by the American Chemical Society for his science outreach work and is the 2019 recipient of the American Chemical Society’s (ACS’) Grady-Stack Award for Interpreting Chemistry for the Public

Since 2008, Sir Martyn has collaborated with filmmaker Brady Haran in the production of nearly 650 videos about chemistry on the YouTube channel Periodic Videos. These include individual videos for all 118 elements, as well as highlights of Nobel Prize achievements. As of mid-September 2018, Periodic Videos had more than 1 million subscribers and was one of the most popular chemistry-related channels on YouTube

For tens of thousands of fans world-wide Professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff is the face of the Periodic Table. He said: “I’m delighted to have been given this award, the Periodic Table of Videos has been a fantastic means of communicating science in a fun and engaging way and it has been a really enjoyable on-going adventure for me and my colleagues. We get so many responses from people across the world, from young children to Nobel Prizewinners who are enjoying the videos and being inspired to explore the scientific world in greater depth. I’m very excited to see where it will lead next!”

Creating passion

The Periodic Videos have made unlikely YouTube stars of its scientific presenters. Since that first video was posted the team has filmed experiments for most of the elements and regularly update the videos with new stories, better samples and bigger experiments.

“Thanks to Martyn’s tireless dedication to the creation of these highly educative YouTube videos, teachers all over the world use them to introduce and create a passion amongst school children for the beauty of chemistry,” says Marcetta Darensbourg, Ph.D., a professor of chemistry at Texas A&M University.

In addition to his videos, Sir Martyn has also delivered lectures to high school students and young people in many countries, including Brazil, Canada, China, France, Ireland, Malaysia, Portugal, Russia, South Africa and the U.S.

The Grady-Stack Award is named for James T. Grady and James H. Stack, two former managers of the ACS News Service. Established in 1955, the award recognizes outstanding presentations that promote the public’s understanding of chemistry, chemical engineering and related fields. Awardees receive $5,000, a gold medallion and a presentation box with a bronze replica. Poliakoff will receive his gold medallion next August at ACS’ 258th National Meeting & Exposition in San Diego.

The American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, is a not-for-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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