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Posted By Peter Bentley
I was honoured to be nominated by UCL recently for a "Lord Kelvin Award" to give a special lecture at the British Science Festival next September. I just heard that I was the runner-up candidate, so that's not too bad!

You were recently nominated to present the British Science Association Lord Kelvin and Joseph Lister Award Lecture at the British Science Festival in September.

The committee was very impressed with the nomination and you were named as runner up in the Lord Kelvin (Physical Sciences and Mathematics) and Joseph Lister (Social Sciences) Award Lecture category. I hope that you will be happy with this and that we will see you nominated again in the future.

Posted By Peter Bentley
Today I received a new request. It turns out that content from the UK version of my book The Undercover Scientist has been (and is still being) used as part of an official Japanese University Entrance Exam. The passage is presented to the students, with some questions that test the ability of the students to understand the meaning of the text, and also their ability to understand which words should be used in which context.

The request is from the publisher (Obunsha) of a test preparation workbook for students. I've granted them permission to use a specific passage from my book with certain questions. I won't say which passage, in case any Japanese readers find this entry! The book will be called Daigaku Nyushi Mondai Seikai available in June 2010.

Anyway, it's a pleasure to find that my books are being used for such diverse applications, and I'm honoured to be able to help the new generations of Japanese university applicants in this way.

Posted By Peter Bentley
A new message from one of my readers today. It's always a pleasure to hear from them, especially when they say things like this:

I bought your book "Why Shit Happens" as I killed some time in Portland's lovely airport (if the very concept of a "lovely airport" isn't an oxymoron) last year, waiting for a flight back to sunny Scotland. I only just got round to reading it this past week or so and I found it highly enjoyable and amusing but more than that, very informative.

I must admit to being really rather ignorant about the world around me. I got through school with an understanding of trigonometry, a bunch of "important dates" from History lodged in my brain and the ability to order fresh bread in German, yet I couldn't have told you what a pulled muscle actually was, or how batteries work or the wonders of day's old milk.

Having become a first time father only last year there been a cold, quiet dread creeping up on me as times goes on and that fear is the word "why". I know it's coming. As soon as the boy starts talking the dreaded word won't be far behind, and as the font of all knowledge to my child I'll be expected to answer all the "why" questions with the requisite authority. Armed with the knowledge from your book, and the fine basic introduction it's given me to many varied aspects of nature and science, I now feel like I've at least got a fighting chance of giving the right answer and avoiding my back up answer of, "Umm, it's all magic."

Looking forward to any future work,

[name removed] (slightly less worried father)