It’s not often that I’m on the receiving end of journalism, but today Jenny Gristock gave me a taste of celebrity in a Guardian media article about the role played by science journalism in science.
I’d tipped her off about one of the biggest success stories, from the perspective of academic research becoming an industrial commercial reality, that had emerged from the pages of New Scientist in recent years. This is how she put it:
“In 1994 freelance science journalist, David Bradley, wrote an article about the work of the Nottingham university chemist, Professor Martyn Poliakoff (Yes, brother of…). Poliakoff was conducting experiments with supercritical carbon dioxide, a highly compressed gas that can dissolve all manner of chemicals. “It acts like a solvent, but has none of the environmental problems of traditional ones,” says Poliakoff.
Bradley’s article captured Poliakoff’s vision of his research. After it appeared in New Scientist, Poliakoff’s world changed completely. “I was happily working away as an academic, and then the article was published,” says Poliakoff. “Thomas Swan, an industrialist, read it and phoned me. He said we ought to collaborate.”
The result, says Poliakoff, is one of New Scientist’s greatest success stories. In 2002, Poliakoff and Thomas Swan & Co built the world’s first full-scale, multi-reaction supercritical carbon dioxide plant.”
I’m just waiting for the paparazzi to arrive, and the full profile in Hello magazine, and maybe even a chance to jump up and down on Oprah’s sofa!