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Public Engagement in Science
Bristol palaeobiologists are committed to Public Engagement in Science. Several members of the group had key roles in the development of the hit BBC TV series Walking with dinosaurs and Walking with beasts. Bristol palaeobiologists have also featured both behind the scenes, and in front of the camera, in more than fifty other palaeobiology programmes on TV and radio, for the BBC Natural History Unit (Bristol), the BBC Science Unit (London), Australian Broadcasting Corporation (Sydney), Discovery Channel (New York), Chinese Central Television (Beijing), and National Geographic Channel (Washington).

(Left) Two Bristol palaeontologists waiting for the camera people to stop mucking about

See videos of Bristol palaeontologists, Mike Benton and Emily Rayfield talking about dinosaur research, and Mike Benton talking about the discovery of colour in dinosaur feathers.

This commitment is seen also in the numerous textbooks and other books published by members of the group. In addition, each year the group contributes numerous popular articles to books and magazines, in addition to their normal output of scientific papers.

Since 2002, we have employed a Bristol Dinosaur Education Officer (BDEO) as part of the Bristol Dinosaur Project . The first BDEO was Caroline Milner, and the second was Tom Challands, both graduates of the MSc programme. Caroline and Tom visited all schools in the Bristol region, and they gave talks and hands-on sessions about dinosaurs to 30,000 children in various age groups. Now, with substantial Lottery funding since 2010, the project continues with Ed Drewitt as BDEO and Pedro Viegas as Laboratory preparator. These BDEOs prepared teaching packs, web materials for kids, and brought school parties into the Palaeo. Lab. to see the project in action. We work together with the City of Bristol Museum and @t-Bristol, both leaders in this kind of educational initiative.

Our commitment to Public Engagement in Science is reflected in the MSc teaching. Not only do we try to explain what we find exciting about modern palaeobiology to students; we also want to train those students to do the same things, and we offer training in how to write for different audiences and we introduce some basic skills in media development, for example in preparing proposals for TV series. Some of our students go on to careers in education and the media, using their skills and knowledge as a starting point.

School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Wills Memorial Building, Queen's Road, Bristol, UK BS8 1RJ
Tel: +44 (0)117 9545400  Fax: +44 (0)117 9253385  Email: earth-msc@bris.ac.uk  Web: www.gly.bris.ac.uk