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 Past SMF - Tony Ryan 
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Senior Media Fellow – Tony Ryan

Tony Ryan
Professor Tony Ryan (image copyright: Bob Naylor) 
Tony Ryan is ICI Professor of Physical Chemistry and director of the Polymer Centre at the University of Sheffield. His research interests cover polymer nanotechnology, including synthesis, processing, self assembly, and structure-property relations.

Tony became EPSRC’s first Senior Media Fellow following his selection to present the 2002 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures. The lectures on materials covered subjects like ‘The spider that spun a suspension bridge’ and ‘The ice-cream that will freeze granny’. They were seen live by 1500 children and 1000 adults, broadcast to audiences of nine million, and resulted in feature articles in the national press.

His media activities include making pilot programmes for the Discovery Channel and BBC4, appearing on Radio 4’s ‘Start the Week’ and contributing to ‘The Material World’. He regularly appears on BBC Radio Sheffield.

Lecturing has been his main activity, however, with audiences ranging from the Women’s Institute and the University of the Third Age to Café Scientifique in a pub in Rotherham. Topics have included nanotechnology, body armour, the materials of music recording and, most recently, the future of energy. He has also lectured in schools, at Sixth Form Science Days and at universities in the UK, Europe and the USA.

Projects in 2005 included working with the National Science Education Centre on courses like ‘Scientists in the Media’, collaborating on a short film used in the Science Museum’s ‘Nanotechnology – Small Science, Big Deal’ exhibition, and contributing to a book on the science of Dr Who.

Tony’s activities have resulted in significant national and international media coverage.  Although Tony has now completed his time as an EPSRC Senior Media Fellow, his latest collaboration with artist and designer Helen Storey will no doubt result in a continued media presence.

Tony feels that he has benefited from engaging with the public and media on his research. Through his Senior Media Fellow activities, he has made new contacts for future research collaborations and generated new ideas that have led to EPSRC and industrial funding. He feels that working on continuing professional development for teachers has been one of the most fulfilling aspects of his fellowship.

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Last modified 21 August 2007
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