The following article appeared in Interactions in February 2012. It is reproduced here with permission.

    A science-themed pantomime went out on Radio 4 on Christmas Eve, created and presented by freelance science writer and broadcaster Sharon-Ann Holgate. Jack and the Genetically Modified Beanstalk mixed humour and fantasy with factual interviews discussing the potential for such future innovations as beanstalks that are genetically engineered to be super strong, “living” buildings using protocells to fix carbon and holographic “genies” summoned by a smartphone.

    Holgate, an IOP member, has regularly contributed to Interactions. She received the IOP’s Young Professional Physicist of the Year Award in 2006.

    On 22 December, the IOP’s honorary secretary, Prof. Stuart Palmer, appeared on BBC Two’s Christmas University Challenge as part of a team of distinguished University of Sheffield graduates. Coincidentally, their opponents were graduates of the University of Warwick, where Palmer is an emeritus professor and was a deputy vice-chancellor. Despite having MP Graham Stringer, Time Team archaeologist Faye Simpson and Radio One’s head of music, George Ergatoudis, as well as Palmer on the team, Sheffield were defeated by Warwick.

© Institute of Physics