Mark Rosin, a physicist who has directly reached more than 15,000 members of the public through his playful and inventive public engagement events, has been chosen by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to receive the 2015 Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science.
Rosin is assistant professor in the Department of Math and Sciences at Pratt Institute in New York as well as director and co-founder of Guerilla Science, an international science engagement organization that creates dialogues between members of the scientific community and the public. He was honored by AAAS for "his broad range of creative and sustainable public engagement strategies that target audiences who may not be actively seeking science information."
Rosin is an "extraordinarily talented and passionate" practitioner of public engagement in science, wrote nominator Russel Caflisch, professor of mathematics at UCLA and director of the National Science Foundation's Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics. "He organizes and participates in a huge range of interactive live activities and events for members of the public. These diverse activities are effective, wide-reaching, and truly engaging," said Caflisch, who supervised Rosin's postdoctoral work.
As part of his work with Guerilla Science, which he cofounded as a graduate student, Rosin has mixed science with art, music, and play to reach members of the public in places that science might be unexpected, such as on the street, in museums, and at art and music festivals.
Rosin reached 4,000 visitors with the Intergalactic Travel Bureau, which explores the possibilities of space tourism by allowing members of the public to meet with an astronomer to plan a space vacation. Rosin also brought more than 2,000 people into touch with math at the inaugural National Math Festival in Washington, D.C., using math-based game shows and obstacle courses.
He also led the creation of the world's first multi-tube fire organ to demonstrate the relationship between math and music: when music is played, the changing acoustic waves cause flames to change size and shapes. Rosin has brought the instrument to festivals like Burning Man Precompression and Maker Faire to help audiences truly visualize sound.
A frequent public speaker committed to engaging listeners through audience participation and dialogue, Rosin has also worked with more than 100 scientists to engage public audiences.
Rosin was recognized in 2013 for his contributions to public engagement with his election to the American Physical Society's Committee on Informing the Public. He also sits on the advisory board of a proposed National Science Foundation Advance Informal STEM Learning project.
Rosin's scientific work in the field of applied mathematics and plasma physics has included most recently the development of an advanced multi-scale algorithm for computational physics problems, which has the potential to revolutionize the simulation of plasma collisions. He earned a Master of Science degree in physics from the University of Bristol and earned a doctorate in plasma physics from Cambridge University's Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics in 2010. After receiving his Ph.D., he completed a postdoctoral appointment with UCLA's Department of Mathematics. His research has been recognized with awards from the Cambridge Philosophical Society and Bristol University.
The AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science was established in 2010 to recognize "early-career scientists and engineers who demonstrate excellence in their contribution to public engagement with science activities." A monetary prize of $5,000, a commemorative plaque, complimentary registration to the AAAS Annual Meeting, and reimbursement for reasonable travel and hotel expenses to attend the AAAS Annual Meeting to receive the prize are given to the recipient.
The AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science will be bestowed upon Rosin during the 182nd AAAS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., 11-15 February 2016. The AAAS Awards Ceremony and Reception will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, February 12, in Palladian Ballroom of the Omni Shoreham Hotel.