Freelance Science Writer and Broadcaster
“Hello! I’m Sharon Ann Holgate and I’m a freelance science writer and broadcaster based in the UK.”
I have a doctorate in physics, and I write mainly about physics and technology, including medical physics and healthcare technology, and scientific careers.
My articles have appeared in various publications including Science, New Scientist, The Times Higher Education Supplement and Physics World. You can see a selection of my past articles, including features about cars and steam locomotives, and articles exploring links between science and performing or visual art here. You can read my latest articles here.
Did you know…
that Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can measure blood flow to the heart and allow doctors to see areas of the heart damaged by a heart attack, as well as being used to diagnose sports injuries and neurological conditions?
I have also worked on policy and careers projects for scientific institutions, including writing brochures and careers material for both the Institute of Physics and the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine, and an essay for the Royal Society. Read more….
My first book, a children’s popular science book called The Way Science Works, which I co-authored with Robin Kerrod, was shortlisted for the Junior Prize in the Aventis Prizes for Science Books 2003. Following this I wrote the undergraduate textbook Understanding Solid State Physics, which is currently used as a core text in universities around the world, and had a second edition published in April 2021. I have written three books in my undergraduate physics Outside the Research Lab series, which looks at the use of physics in a range of areas from sculpture and movie sound recording to supercars, sports coaching and shoe design. I also contributed to the popular science books 30-Second Quantum Theory and 30-Second Energy, and my first solo popular science book Nuclear Fusion: The Race to Build a Mini-Sun on Earth was published on September 1st 2022. Read more about my books here.
My broadcasting has included devising and presenting Jack and the Genetically Modified Beanstalk, a pantomime with a scientific twist for BBC Radio 4, and presenting two series of E=MC Shaz—short pieces in which I investigated some of the claims pop music lyrics make about science—for Saturday-morning youth programme The Edge on the BBC World Service. Other appearances on The Edge included presenting features on environmentally friendly guitars and on the science of bras.
Did you know…
that there are up to 50 components in some bras, and that engineering techniques can be used to measure the strains exerted by bras on women’s bodies?
I have also written and presented The Indian Particle Man, a BBC Radio 4 documentary on the Indian physicist S.N.Bose, which was shortlisted for the Syngenta ABSW Science Writers’ Awards 2005, appeared on a ‘Boffins Special’ of the Weakest Link, been a studio guest on Midweek on BBC Radio 4, appeared on The Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry on BBC Radio 4, presented a series of video interviews with researchers for the Myrovlytis Trust, and enjoyed many live science slots on Bill Buckley’s afternoon show on BBC Southern Counties Radio. Bill and I discussed everything from time travel to sport for the lazy. Hear some clips. Recently, I have been recording a new series of videos to accompany the second edition of Understanding Solid State Physics, some of which are available to watch here.
I have given talks about science communication at various events including the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting, and as part of teaching modules for King’s College London, Imperial College London, and Rhodes University in South Africa. I have also performed Science and Magic shows with magician Tony Drewitt at the Jewish Museum in London, and given science talks at the Science Museum in London, Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, and Milestones Museum in Basingstoke. The latter was on the science and history of toilet paper, which I later discussed with Chris Evans on his BBC Radio 2 Drivetime show!
Did you know…
that before toilet paper was produced in 1857, people had used everything from ostrich feathers to rags, leaves and grass to perform the task? Unbelievably it took another 90 years to really catch on.
I am honoured to be the 2022 recipient of the William Thomson, Lord Kelvin Medal and Prize from the Institute of Physics for public engagement in physics. Previously, in January 2007, I was awarded the Institute of Physics Young Professional Physicist of the Year award for 2006, which I was obviously delighted about!
Thank you for visiting this site. I hope you enjoy it.
Learn more about me and my work in this video
Please click here to read my biography and find information about becoming a science writer.
A selection of my articles are available to read on this website. You will also find links here to some of my features and news stories online.
In my broadcasting section you can find more information about the programmes I have devised and presented for BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service, as well as links to some of the videos I have presented.
Visit my books page to find out more about the undergraduate textbooks Understanding Solid State Physics, and Outside the Research Lab volumes 1, 2 and 3, as well as the children’s popular science book The Way Science Works, which I co-authored.
Talks and Teaching
You can find out more about the talks on science writing and broadcasting that I have given in my talks and teaching section. I have spoken at events including the AAAS Annual Meeting, and been a Guest Lecturer at King’s College London.
Keep up to date
To see my latest news, follow me on LinkedIn, and read my News page. For the latest updates on Understanding Solid State Physics, check out my Featured Author page on the Routlege website, and for the latest on all my books please follow my Author Central feed on Amazon. You can also follow me on my new Instagram feed @everydaysciencethings