There are no bounds to the unconventionality - or diversity - of the projects which have won awards, from drama to hands-on activities. No scientific phenomenon is too ordinary, or too exceptional, but all require scientists to team up with a community group to work together on a project. A timely pounds 12,500 award, for example, has been given to Professor John Parkinson, a Sheffield-based academic, to work with communities in Cornwall on safe ways of viewing the 1999 eclipse.
Founded in 1660, the Royal Society is the oldest scientific society in the world. It is the independent scientific academy of the UK, and is dedicated to promoting excellence in science. For information about the Royal Society see their web site at: www.royalsoc.ac.uk
The British Association works through a wide programme of activities to change the image of science and convey its fascination. It organises an annual Festival of Science, a Young Investigators scheme for children, Visions for the Future conferences to bring together young people and experts, and the British Youth Science Fair. It also runs a speakers' bank, Talking Sciences+, and forums for science communicators.