Move over Pop Idol...

November 12, 2004

Scientists will have the chance to burst out of their laboratories and into the spotlight when the research equivalent of Pop Idol hits the streets next year.

FameLab , the brainchild of the Cheltenham Science Festival, is a national competition to discover the new faces of science communication.

Entrants will be given three minutes to impress a panel of judges, including fertility expert and television old-hand Robert Winston. They will be assessed on their ability to engage and entertain a non-scientific audience.

Anyone interested in becoming the next David Attenborough or Susan Greenfield is asked to simply turn up at one of a series of regional heats next spring.

The winning scientist will go on a UK tour of speaking events, as well as getting airtime on Channel 4 and £2,000.

Speaking at the launch of the project on Tuesday, Paul Nurse, Nobel laureate and the event's patron, said: "There's a lot at stake: if the public does lose confidence, then support will be lost. If we don't talk about science, there may be no science to talk about."

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