Lancaster University

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MP visits University in science pairing scheme

12/01/2004 10:49:42

Hilton Dawson, MP for Lancaster and Wyre, will spend the day at Lancaster University on January 14 as part of a Royal Society scheme that pairs scientists with politicians. He will be the guest of Physics Research Fellow Dr Richard Haley.

It follows Dr Haley’s five-day visit to the House of Commons in October when he shadowed Mr Dawson and attended seminars and meetings, including the Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee.

The week was aimed at giving him a ‘behind the scenes’ insight into how science policy is formed and an understanding of the working life of an MP. Dr Haley will also spend a day with Mr Dawson in his constituency on January 21.

Dr Haley, a Royal Society University Research Fellow and a member of the Ultralow Temperature Group in the Physics Department at Lancaster University, said: “The week I spent in Westminster was a fantastic experience, and gave me a great insight into the workings of government and the hectic daily schedule of a busy MP. The pairing scheme fosters direct links between scientists and MPs, hopefully enabling them to become better informed on science issues which affect all of us. When Hilton Dawson visits our lab, he’ll be doing hands-on experiments as part of our research team.”

The MP-Science Pairing Scheme was launched in 2001 by the Royal Society – the UK national academy of science - with the aim of building bridges between some of the best research workers in the country and members of the UK Parliament. Over 40 pairs of scientists and MPs have taken part in the scheme already.

It’s the second time Hilton Dawson has taken part in the scheme – two years ago he teamed up with a member of staff from the Biological Sciences Department.

Dr Haley works in the internationally renowned Ultralow Temperature Physics Group, whose work concerns the behaviour of materials at the lowest accessible temperatures – to within a few millionths of a degree above absolute zero. Lancaster has one of the leading low temperature laboratories in the world and has twice gained the lowest temperature ever reached.

Dr Haley recently received a commendation prize at Science in September – a showcase of the best scientific research in the UK, held at the House of Commons and organised by SET (Science, Engineering and Technology) for Britain