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Paul Cook: IOP Honorary Fellow

Published: 26 June 2020

Congratulations to Paul Cook who has been made an IOP Honorary Fellow for his “excellent work as a science technician in the education sector and his diligent work with students through numerous outreach workshops and projects.”

Paul is one of six new Honorary Fellows for 2020, and one of two outstanding technical professionals included in the fellowships for the first time – this reflects the crucial role played by technicians in the advancement and application of physics and highlights the growing number of pathways into a successful and rewarding physics career.

Paul is the Senior Lead Technician at ARK Burlington Danes Academy, where he is a staff governor and also lead technician for the Ark Academy network. Paul is also the Ogden lead technician for the south of England, supporting technicians at Ogden partnership schools.

“It has been a pleasure to work with Paul over the past few years,” says Clare Harvey, Chief Executive of the Ogden Trust. “We very much value his expertise and knowledge, and his generosity in sharing both of these things. I know our partnership schools really appreciate the support, guidance and enthusiasm that he offers to teachers and technicians.

“With less specialist physics teachers entering the profession and growing pressure on school budgets, the support and expertise of technicians can make a vital difference to physics provision in schools. It is great to see the IOP recognising and rewarding the contribution that technicians make to school science, and Paul is undoubtably deserving of this Honorary Fellowship. We look forward to continuing our work with Paul and with James Ricketts who is our technician lead for the north of England,” concludes Clare.

Paul has a passion for presenting demonstrations, to inspire and enthuse students by making scientific theory visible and understandable, working as a senior/head technician for many years in various schools in Essex and across London, covering all three sciences to A-level, but with a specialism in physics.

He is actively involved in primary school outreach projects across a number of schools in the Ark Academy network and beyond, including Ogden partnership schools. He presents hands-on practical-based CPD workshops across the country and internationally for technicians and teachers.

An ASE National Technician Committee member and registrant champion for the Science Council, Paul has become a multi-award winning technician.

His awards include a Rolls Royce special Merit Award for work with ICT in science lessons and schools, and the Welcome Trust Award as a National Expert STEM Technician. In 2015, he was presented the Annual Technician Award by the Salters Institute, and in 2017 won a Technician of the Year award from Gratnell’s. In February 2019, he became the first science technician to be elected a Fellow of the Institute of Physics. Now, he has been made an Honorary Fellow, the highest accolade the IOP can bestow.

Paul says: “It is truly an exceptional honour to be awarded the IOP’s highest accolade in recognition of my work as a science technician.

“I have been very fortunate to work alongside fantastic IOP presenters and teams, especially in the years when, through Alan Baugh, I supported the Oxford Summer Schools; every year bringing a larger van load of equipment and resources from my school in London up to the host university in Oxford. For six years I have been working with Niloufar Wijetunge, who is also a regional rep for The Ogden Trust, to host and co-present physics twilight sessions for non-specialist technicians and teachers.

“With the ongoing support from Ark Burlington Danes Academy, I have presented at ASE conferences as well as workshops all across the country and more recently internationally in Switzerland and Dubai, UAE.

“This IOP award helps to highlight the huge contribution and impact science technicians make in secondary education, offering practical advice to teachers and helping to ensure students are engaged and inspired by practical science, especially in physics.”

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