DPhil Student Chico Camargo wins University Public Engagement Award

21 August 2017

Chico Camargo, of the Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics has won an Early Career Researcher award in this year’s Vice-Chancellor’s Public Engagement with Research Awards, which celebrate public engagement work across the University. The announcement was made at an awards ceremony at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History on 28 June hosted by Vice-Chancellor Professor Louise Richardson.

Chico, a DPhil student, won his award for his work on YouTube creating videos about complex systems concepts. Since June 2016, Mr Camargo has been part of a Portuguese-speaking YouTube scientific outreach channel called BláBláLogia, with daily videos on topics from space travel to ecology. He aims not only to focus on research but also to inspire people in the ways that we study such phenomena and increase understanding of the world around us.

Chico is the host and writer of a fortnightly show, Top Models, where he engages people with the mathematical models used in science, and how they connect the natural and the social sciences. He has produced over twenty films to date to a mostly young adult (18-30 years old) audience in Brazil.

Today, BláBláLogia has almost 100,000 subscribers, over 5 million views, with some videos reaching tens of thousands of views. The channel won the 2016 YouTube ‘NextUp’ prize, awarded to the most promising channels with under 100k subscribers.

The public engagement work has fed back into his research, as having to explain elaborate concepts in a more fundamental way, without relying on university-level mathematics, has led to a more thorough understanding of the tools he uses every day. Members of BláBláLogia have also been invited to many seminars, debates and panels as a result, helping to raise their research profile.

The Vice-Chancellor's Public Engagement with Research Awards recognise and reward those at the University who undertake high-quality engagement activities and have contributed to building capacity in this area. Mr Camargo was one of five Early Career Researcher winners at the awards.

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor says: “I have been deeply impressed by the quality of the public engagement with research projects submitted for this year’s awards. The breadth and diversity of the activities taking place show how seriously the University takes its commitment to public engagement. It is inspiring to see the positive impact these activities have both on research and on the individuals and communities that have been involved, from warriors in Tanzania and young adults in Brazil, to local communities affected by dementia.”
Professor Alison Woollard, the University’s Academic Champion for Public Engagement with Research says: “Public engagement enriches both research and society and the University is committed to enabling our researchers to inspire, consult and collaborate with the public. I’m delighted that we are able to recognise and highlight the fantastic work our researchers are doing and hope these awards encourage more colleagues across the University to carry out their own public engagement with research.”

About the awards
The Vice-Chancellor's Public Engagement with Research Awards recognise and reward those at the University who undertake high-quality engagement activities and have contributed to building capacity in this area. The awards are awarded in three categories – Early Career Researcher, Building Capacity and Projects. Entrants can be at any level in their career and activities of any scale are welcome.