Kalinga Prize laureate

2000

Brazil
Ernst Hamburger

In recognition of his extensive efforts to popularize science in schools in Brazila_

Born in Germany, Ernest Hamburger immigrated with his parents to Brazil when he was three years old. There he studied physics at the University of São Paulo and joined its faculty (Institute of Physics) soon after his graduation in 1960. Professor Hamburger’s interest in physics education and science popularization dates back to the 1960s when he launched a curriculum development project and set up a laboratory offering demonstration experiments to schools that would later serve as the model for exhibitions organized for the general public by the Physics Institute. In 1996, he took up the post of Director of Estação Ciência, a Brazilian science centre founded in 1987 by the National Research Centre which is part of a UNESCO-supported network for science popularization entitled RedPop – Rede de Popularização das Ciências da América Latina e Caribe centre. Professor Hamburger is also acting Chairman of the new Brazilian Association of Science Centres and Museums (ABCMC - Associação Brasileira de Centros e Museus de Ciências).

Since the 1970s, Professor Hamburger has published articles sporadically on physics and science popularization in principal newspapers of São Paulo as well as secondary school and university level teaching guides/curriculum, and notably a book entitled What is Physics? (1984) directed at the general public and school students. He has organized and participated as author in teams to write texts for physics books, story boards for physics films, for educational television programmes on physics and for science exhibitions. For many years he was also involved in the production of films for teaching physics and was Advisor and Supervisor for national television programmes on physics. From 1988 to 1994, he organized a number of popular temporary and permanent interactive exhibitions on physics and astronomy (attracting 70,000 people over a period of months visited mostly by school pupils). In 1992 and 1993, he taught an extracurricular course on science popularization for journalists at the School of Communications and Arts of the University of São Paulo. In 1994, the National Research Council of Brazil bestowed him the Premio José Reis de Divulgação Científica which recognizes the best science popularizer in the country.

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