Dr Karl Kruszelnicki – or simply Dr Karl as he is best known – has become the first Australian to win the UNESCO Kalinga Prize for the Popularisation of Science.
He joins the ranks of such scientific luminaries as Margaret Mead, David Attenborough, Arthur C Clarke, Bertrand Russell, David Suzuki, and inaugural winner Louis de Broglie, one of the founders of quantum theory.
Presented during the World Science Forum in Budapest, the award recognises Dr Karl’s knowledge, his gift for communication and his enthusiasm and curiosity about all things science.
“I’m ever so honoured by this prize. I simply couldn’t have achieved what I have without the nurturing environment that the University of Sydney provides for people like me who are perhaps not quite normal or mainstream,” he says.
Dr Karl’s best-known work includes his weekly science hour on the ABC radio station Triple J, as well as segments on BBC radio in the UK. In 2002, he was awarded the prestigious Ig Nobel prize for his research into belly button lint, and why it is almost always blue.
You can watch him in action during an In Class session for Australia’s Science Channel.
He is also engaged in a wide range of outreach programs, including twice-weekly free Skype sessions with schools across the world.
The Kalinga Prize, which is funded by the Kalinga Foundation, the Indian Government and the Indian State of Orissa, was founded in 1951 and is UNESCO’s oldest prize. It aims to recognise exceptional contributions made by individuals in science communication and promoting the popularisation of science.