Jump to content

Kathy Sykes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kathy Sykes
Sykes at the Cheltenham Science Festival in 2009
Katharine Ellen Sykes

(1966-12-20) 20 December 1966 (age 57)[1]
EducationFitzharrys School
Alma materUniversity of Bristol (BSc, PhD)
Known for
Scientific career
ThesisCrystallization and degradation of a biodegradable plastic - polyhydroxybutyrate (1996)
Websitewww.bristol.ac.uk/physics/people/kathy-e-sykes Edit this at Wikidata

Katharine Ellen Sykes OBE FInstP CPhys (born 20 December 1966)[1] is a British physicist, broadcaster[2] and Professor of Sciences and Society at the University of Bristol. She was previously Collier Professor of Public Engagement in Science and Engineering, from 2002 to 2006.[3] She has presented various BBC2 and Open University TV series, including Rough Science, Ever Wondered about Food, Alternative Therapies. Alternative Medicine and presented for the documentary television miniseries Brave New World with Stephen Hawking in 2011.[4][5][6][7][8][9]


Sykes was educated at Fitzharrys School, a co-educational comprehensive school in Abingdon.[10] She went on to study at the University of Bristol where she was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics in 1989[1] and a PhD in 1996 for work on the crystallization and degradation of polyhydroxybutyrate, a biodegradable plastic.[11]


Sykes helped to create and co-directs Cheltenham Science Festival and Famelab, a national UK competition which talent spots and trains new faces in science communication. She was Head of Science for Explore-At-Bristol, in charge of the team creating the content for the award-winning Hands-on Science Centre. She is a member of the Council for Science and Technology (CST), the UK government's top-level advisory body on science and technology policy issues. She has also served on advisory panels in public engagement in science for the Royal Society, the Wellcome Trust and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). She is a trustee of NESTA[12] and a board member of Explore-At-Bristol.

Awards and honours[edit]

Sykes won the Kohn Award in 2006 for excellence in engaging the public with science.[13] She holds an honorary Doctor of Science degree and honorary fellowship from the University of Gloucestershire[3][14] and won the Suffrage Science award in 2013.

Sykes was appointed Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2009 Birthday Honours.


  1. ^ a b c Anon (2017). "Sykes, Prof. Katharine Ellen". Who's Who (online Oxford University Press ed.). Oxford: A & C Black. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U10000261. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ Kathy Sykes at IMDb
  3. ^ a b "BBC NEWS - UK - England - Gloucestershire - Honorary doctorate for professor". Retrieved 24 January 2017.
  4. ^ Kathy Sykes's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  5. ^ Sykes, K. (2007). "The Quality of Public Dialogue". Science. 318 (5855): 1349. doi:10.1126/science.1151332. PMID 18048655.
  6. ^ Sykes, K.; MacNaghten, P. (2013). "Responsible Innovation - Opening Up Dialogue and Debate". Responsible Innovation. p. 85. doi:10.1002/9781118551424.ch5. ISBN 9781118551424.
  7. ^ Sykes, K (2004). "Engaging with the public?". The British Journal of General Practice. 54 (504): 493–4. PMC 1324799. PMID 15239909.
  8. ^ Seebach, D.; Bürger, H. M.; Müller, H. M.; Lengweiler, U. D.; Beck, A. K.; Sykes, K. E.; Barker, P. A.; Barham, P. J. (1994). "Synthesis of Linear Oligomers of (R)-3-Hydroxybutyrate and Solid-State Structural Investigations by electron microscopy and X-ray scattering". Helvetica Chimica Acta. 77 (4): 1099. doi:10.1002/hlca.19940770423.
  9. ^ Sykes, K. E.; McMaster, T. J.; Miles, M. J.; Barker, P. A.; Barham, P. J.; Seebach, D.; Müller, H. M.; Lengweiler, U. D. (1995). "Direct imaging of the surfaces of poly(β) hydroxybutyrate and hydroxybutyrate oligomers by atomic force microscopy". Journal of Materials Science. 30 (3): 623. Bibcode:1995JMatS..30..623S. doi:10.1007/BF00356320. S2CID 137239574.
  10. ^ "Login". Retrieved 24 January 2017.
  11. ^ Sykes, Katharine Ellen (1996). Crystallization and degradation of a biodegradable plastic - polyhydroxybutyrate (PhD thesis). University of Bristol. OCLC 556686366. EThOS uk.bl.ethos.336867.
  12. ^ Professor Kathy Sykes NESTA
  13. ^ "Professor wins top science award". bbc.co.uk. 11 September 2006. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  14. ^ Gloucestershire Echo, 5 June 2009, p. 2