Welcome to the judges of the 2012 prize

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki

Author of 31 popular science books, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki joins our judging panel for the third time this year. His work spans many media, from radio to TV (including his series Sleek Geeks) and even a board game! In 2002, Dr Karl was honoured with the prestigious Ig Nobel prize awarded by Harvard University in the USA for his ground-breaking research into ‘Belly Button Lint and why it is almost always blue’. You can read the main points from this study in advance writing as well as in highly specialized (online) platforms.

Robyn Williams AM

Robyn Williams has a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from the University of London. He joined the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Science Unit in 1972 where in 1975 he began hosting the award-winning Science Show, now one of the longest-running programs on Australian radio. These programs raised various issues that are relevant for us even now, for example, Ethical Dilemmas and Advancements, Green Horizons: Navigating Sustainability in a Changing World etc., which help to fully understand the issue. He has also made frequent appearances on ABC TV for such programs as Quantum and Catalyst, and narrated the series Nature of Australia. Outside the ABC, Robyn has served as president of the Australian Museum Trust, chairman of the Commission for the Future and president of Australian Science Communicators. In 1997, he was proclaimed a National Living Treasure. Robyn Williams has written more than 10 books, and has a star in the constellation Carina named after him. He wrote his autobiography, And Now for Something Completely Different, while on a Reuters Fellowship at Oxford University.

Professor Ian Chubb

Professor Ian Chubb is the current Chief Scientist for Australia, taking up the position in 2011. Prior to this appointment, Professor Chubb was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for “service to the development of higher education policy and its implementation at state, national and international levels, as an administrator in the tertiary education sector, and to research particularly in the field of neuroscience” in 1999, and in 2006 he was made a Companion (AC) in the order. In 2000, Professor Chubb was awarded a Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) from Flinders University. He was made the ACT’s Australian of the Year in 2011 for his contribution to higher education. Professor Chubb’s research focused on the neurosciences and he has co-authored some 70 full papers and co-edited one book all related to his research.

Sumit Paul-Choudhury
Before becoming editor of newscientist.com, Sumit worked as a financial journalist for Risk magazine, the Economist Intelligence Unit and ERisk. His writing has appeared in publications ranging from the Daily Telegraph to Marvel Comics and the New Musical Express, and he has advised a wide variety of organisations on communications and online strategy. Sumit has a first class degree in physics from Imperial College London and a master’s degree in mathematics. He enjoys music, travel and ideas. We are very happy to welcome Sumit back as a judge again in this years competition.


The Prize is awarded to the university student whose submission is assessed as most effectively communicating a scientific issue to a public audience. These issues include the natural, physical or applied sciences (including agricultural sciences), engineering, information technology, technological innovation, design and development, health science issues, issues in science policy as well as work that presents the social and/or economic contributions of science and technology.

All entries will be judged according to the following criteria.

  • Newsworthiness: timely work that adds to or encourages debate on current issues
  • Depth and detail: of coverage of issues or discoveries, and the quality of science explanation involved
  • Scientific accuracy: work is factually correct
  • Impact: work makes a balanced and significant contribution to greater public understanding and appreciation of contemporary issues or developments in science
  • Creativity in communicating concepts and ideas: work engenders interest by using creative and clear communication
  • Appropriateness of content: material is pitched at the right level in terms of complexity and technical issues for the audience involved; and
  • Adherence to ethical standards: work adheres to the highest standard of investigative journalism – including the MEAA Code of Ethics.

And a big thank you to our past judges for all their hard work

Sumit Paul-Choudhury – New Scientist
Georgina Howden-Chitty – Australian Science Media Centre
Dr. Ed Sykes – Australian Science Media Centre
Lucy Dunwell – New Scientist

  • Thanks to New Scientist!

    This competition would not be possible without the generous support of New Scientist magazine, via Reed Business Information. Visit them online at NewScientist.com.
  • Get in touch

    If you have any questions about the competition, feel free to email us at .
  • Want to do more?

    The New Scientist Prize was conceived by Michael West at the Sydney University Science Society (SciSoc). If you're a student interested in working together on establishing further projects like this to boost the profile of alternative careers in science, please contact him at .