Episode 28

Published on:

6th Jun 2024

Pushing boundaries with Lisa Jardine-Wright

We are joined by Dr Lisa Jardine-Wright, OBE; Director of Isaac Physics, Director of Studies for Physics at Churchill College, and Vice-President for Education and Skills at the Institute of Physics.

An astrophysicist by training, Lisa studied Natural Sciences and for a Master’s Degree in Physics at Trinity College in Cambridge, before completing her PhD at the Institute of Astronomy just over the road from the Cavendish. While there, she became involved in the Institute’s outreach activities, contributing to the first Cambridge Festivals and the regular Public Open Evenings, before moving on to a postdoc that was split evenly between simulating the formation of spiral galaxies and outreach.

Since then, she has been a media fellow at the Financial Times, Astronomy Consultant for the Royal Observatory, Outreach Officer at the Cavendish, and co-founder of the internationally-used Isaac Physics project. Her work to support outreach and education has been widely recognised; Lisa has won numerous awards, culminating in an OBE for services to education in 2022.

In this episode, we talk to her about her route through science, the valuable perspective that comes from seeing your work through non-specialist eyes, and the importance of making her teachers work late…

Useful links

  • Isaac Physics is the free platform headed by Lisa, for students and teachers to master physics by solving problems.
  • STEM SMART (Subject Mastery and Attainment Raising Tuition) is a widening participation initiative from the University of Cambridge in association with Isaac Physics, to provide free, complementary teaching and support to UK (non-fee paying) students.
  • The research relating to A-level physics numbers that Lisa refers to is in this paper by Alan Smithers (Centre for Education and Employment Research University of Buckingham, 2014)
  • For more inspiration on the different roles you can have in a Physics environment, listen to some of the previous episodes in the People Doing Physics' back catalogue, for example: Melanie Tribble, Emily Roe, Tom Sharp or Richard King
  • To learn more about the Cavendish Laboratory, or if you are interested in joining us or studying with us, go to the Cavendish website.

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Episode credits

Hosts: Jacob Butler and Charlie Walker

Recording and editing: Chris Brock

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About the Podcast

People doing Physics
The podcast exploring the personal side of physics
As fascinating as physics can be, it can also seem very abstract, but behind each experiment and discovery stands a real person trying to understand the universe. Join us at the Cavendish Laboratory on the first Thursday of every month as we get up close and personal with the researchers, technicians, students, teachers, and people that are the beating heart of Cambridge University’s Physics department. Each episode also covers the most exciting and up-to-date physics news coming out of our labs. If you want to know what goes on behind the doors of a Physics department, are curious to know how people get into physics, or simply wonder what physicists think and dream about, listen in!
Join us on Twitter @DeptofPhysics using the hashtag #PeopleDoingPhysics.

About your hosts

Vanessa Bismuth

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I'm the Cavendish's Communications Manager and I want the world to know about the extraordinary people that are working, researching and studying here.

Jacob Breward Butler

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Working in the Outreach Office of the Cavendish Laboratory, I run Cambridge University's educational Physics outreach programmes while studying a part-time Masters' in Education.

Charles Walker

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As a researcher at Cavendish Astrophysics and Selwyn College, Cambridge, I help develop and use radio telescopes to learn more about the Universe, and perform outreach to help others learn more about our work, and us!