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A science career can sometimes bear more than a passing resemblance to leading a life on the stage.

Stephen Pincock
Jun 19, 2005

A science career can sometimes bear more than a passing resemblance to leading a life on the stage. Never has there been greater demand for the kind of investigator willing to exude a bit of razzle-dazzle in order to communicate with the wider public. Now, the organizers of one British science festival have taken the science-showbiz connection to new heights. Tearing a page directly out of the Pop Idol and American Idol handbooks, they've held a nationwide talent contest to find the "new face of science."

In the Cheltenham Science Festival's FameLab, budding science stars had three minutes to impress a panel of judges with their combination of charisma and top-notch science. Heats were held across the country in March and April, attracting more than 300 participants.

Twelve finalists were then chosen to receive a two-day training course in science communication. The lucky dozen includes a wide range of scientists,...

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