Science, Stories and Society...
the Soul of Science Communication



GALA OPENING | 3 April 2018

Professor Lawrence Krauss

(United States)

Lawrence M. Krauss is an internationally known theoretical physicist with wide research interests, including the interface between elementary particle physics and cosmology, where his studies include the early universe, the nature of dark matter, general relativity and neutrino astrophysics. He has investigated questions ranging from the nature of exploding stars to issues of the origin of all mass in the universe. He is currently Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and Physics Department, and Inaugural Director of the Origins Project, a national centre for research and outreach on origins issues, from the origins of the universe, to human origins, to the origins of the consciousness and culture.

Professor Krauss is the author of over 300 scientific publications, as well as numerous popular articles on physics and astronomy. He is the author of 10 popular books, including the international bestseller The Physics of Star Trek (1995) and more recently A Universe from Nothing (2012), which immediately became a New York Times Bestseller and has now been translated into 24 different languages. It argues that not only can our universe naturally arise from nothing, without supernatural effects, but that it probably did. His newest book, The Greatest Story Ever Told ... SO FAR, appeared in March of 2017.

He is the recipient of numerous awards for his research and writing and is the only physicist to have received the major awards from all three U.S Physics Societies. His Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize from the American Physical Society (2001) summarizes his impact "For outstanding contributions to the understanding of the early universe, and extraordinary achievement in communicating the essence of physical science to the general public." In 2005 he was also awarded the Joseph P. Burton Forum Award from the American Physical Society for his work on issues of science and society. In 2012, he was awarded The National Science Board's prestigious national Public Service Award for his many contributions to public education and understanding of science around the world.

Hailed, by Scientific American as a rare scientific Public Intellectual, he frequently contributes to newspapers, including the New York Times and Wall St. Journal and regularly appears on television and radio, and he has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, and was a jury member at the Sundance Film Festival. Krauss is also the subject of a new full-length feature film, The Unbelievers, which follows Krauss and Richard Dawkins around the world as they discuss science and reason. In this regard he has dedicated his time, throughout his career, to issues of science and society and has helped spearhead national efforts to educate the public about science, ensure sound public policy, and defend science against attacks at a variety of levels. He serves as the chair of the Board of Sponsors of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and is on the Board of Directors of the Federation of American Scientists, and helped found ScienceDebate, which, in 2008, and 2012 helped raise issues of science and sound public policy in the Presidential elections in those years.

SOCIETY| 6 April 2018

Professor Maja Horst


As a researcher, Professor Maja Horst is interested in the relationship between science and society - with particular emphasis on public communication about science and technology. She is Head of Department of the Department of Media, Cognition and Communication at the University of Copenhagen.

She is one of those at the forefront of developing a framework for the relatively new discipline of Science Communication. In 2016, she published the book, Science Communication: Culture, Identity and Citizenship, which she co-authored with Sarah Davies.

Professor Horst has previously lead research projects studying the public debate on stem cell research, as well as those studying research management and risk. She is currently studying how social, political and cultural values affect scientific research and technological innovation and how these, in turn, affect society, politics and culture. She also researches the intersection between the public and science, studying – for example – how research and science results and processes are communicated by various sources to non-expert societal and political stakeholders including the general public via the media. She monitors the public debate around research and technology and how values and opinions form in the public domain, and how they affect and are affected by research and science communication.

In 2009, Professor Horst received the Research Communication Award granted by the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. Through innovative communication forms, she is able to inform and at the same time enter into a dialogue with the audience. "She is an inspiration to other researchers," says Science Minister Helge Sander.



Sir Peter Gluckman

(New Zealand)

Sir Peter Gluckman ONZ FRS is the first Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, having been appointed in 2009.

He is also science envoy and advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He is chair of the International Network of Government Science Advice (INGSA). He is the coordinator of the secretariat of Small Advanced Economies Initiative. He trained as a pediatric and biomedical scientist and holds a Distinguished University Professorship at the Liggins Institute of the University of Auckland. He has published over 700 scientific papers and several technical and popular science books. He has written and spoken extensively on science-policy and science-diplomacy and science-society interactions.

He has received the highest scientific (Rutherford medal) and civilian (Order of New Zealand,) honours in NZ and numerous international scientific awards. In 2004, he was named New Zealander of the Year. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, a member of the National Academy of Medicine (USA) and a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (UK).

In 2014, he hosted and chaired the Science Advice to Governments Conference, convened by the International Council for Science (ICSU), which was the first global meeting of high-level science advisors. Two years later, he received the AAAS award in Science Diplomacy.



Nicky Hager

(New Zealand)

Nicky Hager is an author and investigative journalist based in Wellington, New Zealand. He has written six best-selling books and divides his time between investigative writing and freelance feature writing. He has specialised in investigating hard-to-document subjects, such as military and intelligence agencies, public relations activities and the unseen sides of politics, as well as environmental, technological and science issues.

His 1996 book, Secret Power, New Zealand's role in the international spy network, revealed and described the western intelligence system called Echelon. Based on interviews with intelligence officers and fieldwork in several countries, the book created international news and led to a year-long investigation into Echelon by the European Parliament.

Secrets and Lies, the anatomy of an anti-environmental PR campaign (1999), co-authored by Australian journalist Bob Burton, was based on internal PR papers and documented the techniques used by PR companies to manufacture political support for their clients and to undermine their clients' opponents.

Seeds of Distrust (2002) was based on public service and company documentation and was a case study of government processes and industry lobbying under the Labour Government. In 2006 he published The Hollow Men, a study in the politics of deception, a detailed expose of three years of politics within the New Zealand National Party. This book, which prompted the resignation of the party leader on the day it was released, has since been adapted into a successful stage play and feature-length documentary film. His 2011 book Other People's Wars and 2017 book Hit and Run both investigate information and media control by militaries in the Afghanistan War. There is an archive of his writing and speeches at

Since 2002 Nicky Hager has been the New Zealand representative of the Washington-based Consortium of Investigative Journalists, working on projects such as the Panama Papers. He also regularly lectures on investigative journalism to university journalism students and speaks widely on a range of subjects.

Lately, he has become interested in what happens when the data and voices of scientists clash with the interests of Big Business and governments.

Photo credit: Dan Liu


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