Clothworkers’ Science Content Producer
Fran’s job is to find new ways of bringing scientific ideas to life for our audiences. But as well as coming up with the ideas, she then has to turn them into reality, and keep everyone safe while she does so!
Fran is a three-time BAFTA nominated science presenter, consultant and pyrotechnican, specialising in science demonstrations for both the stage and screen. With twelve years of experience in informal STEM education, she’s worked on more than 20 science television series, has successfully produced hundreds of science stage shows and events, and contributed to 13 science books and kits.
She has focused her career around enhancing the appeal of science and engineering. Through the use of ingenious demonstrations and narratives she aims to highlight the wonder of discovery and creativity at the heart of these subjects.
Her engineering skills and ability to engage an audience has seen her carve a niche in the media world; being known for devising and building unusual science demonstrations from hydrogen rockets you can light with your finger to explosions you can trigger with live code.
Her love for a good science demonstration is almost equaled by her love for the outdoors with Fran spending her free time either camping, cycling or hiking.
For me, it was science on the television screen that had the biggest influence. Programmes such as How2 showed me that science could be done in a subliminal manner, with succinct and intriguing explanations. Whilst the BBC’s Horizon series persuaded me that neuroscience was a path worth taking and was a big influence on me pursuing my degree and Masters in neuroscience.
My favourite demo is one I devised where I light hydrogen rockets with my finger. This stemmed from a “What if?” moment and I set about to see if it was indeed possible. With some re-wiring of my Van De Graaff generator I am pleased to say that with some dry weather and a foil-covered finger it is very much possible.
I was a regular at the Ri long before I worked here and it’s a very special place due to both its people and history. The list of discoveries and science-changing moments occurring in the building is staggering, but it is the welcoming and passionate people who work here that make these moments accessible.
I’ve always thought of the Ri as the Institution that pushes boundaries - be that by installing a 2000 cell (and rather explosive) battery in its basement to demonstrate a carbon arc, or by employing a lowly book binder from Surrey who kept pestering them for a job. I’m glad to report the Ri has continued its tradition of bucking the trend and I’m excited to see what we can come up with over the next few months.