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