Wilson da Silva
Science & Society speaker; Cosmos editor & co-founder
Wilson da Silva is the editor and co-founder of Cosmos, Australia’s #1 science magazine. He has a long history as a science journalist and editor, including as a journalist/producer on ABC TV’s Quantum, as a foreign correspondent for Reuters, and as a reporter on New Scientist and The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
Wilson da Silva is an engaging presenter who crafts presentations with insights, historical perspective, incisive commentary and doses of humour and wit. He is able to tackle difficult topics – from climate change to artificial intelligence, from genetic engineering to the future of space travel – and make them not only fascinating, but rewarding for his audience which is inevitably left with a new understanding and, of course, food for thought.
Wilson da Silva has made hundreds of TV and radio appearances. He has been a frequent guest on the Today Show on Nine, Sunrise on Seven, First Edition on SkyNews and The Science Show on ABC Radio National. He has also appeared on Today Tonight and Where Are They Now? on Seven, Triple J’s Morning Show, and is a regular guest of ABC Radio around Australia.
Wilson da Silva has been profiled in the Good Weekend’s ‘Two of Us’ section, was the subject of In Conversation with Robyn Williams on ABC Radio National, and The Conversation Hour with Richard Fidler on ABC Radio. He was listed as one of Australia’s ‘bright sparks’ in a feature on creativity and innovation in BOSS magazine in 2002.
Wilson da Silva has spoken at scores of conferences and events, including twice at the UNESCO World Science Forum, the EuroScience Open Forum in Munich and Barcelona, the Science & Technology in Society Forum in Kyoto, and the Quantum to Cosmos festival in Canada. He’s also spoken or chaired events at venues across the country for Adelaide’s Festival of Ideas, the Royal Institute of Australia, the Powerhouse Museum and Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art.
A former president of the World Federation of Science Journalists, Wilson da Silva is the winner of 27 awards – including two Editor of the Year trophies for his work on Cosmos; the AFI Award for Best Documentary for The Diplomat (a film on East Timor centred on Nobel Peace laureate José Ramos Horta); and the Human Rights Award for Journalism. Cosmos itself has won 35 awards, including twice Magazine of the Year, the American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award, the Reuters/IUCN Award for Excellence in Environmental Journalism, the City of Sydney Lord Mayor’s Sustainability Award and an Earth Journalism Award.
In 2009, he created hellofromearth.net as a National Science Week initiative to send a message to the nearest Earth-like planet outside our solar system. It attracted phenomenal worldwide interest, featuring in more than 12,000 newspapers, blogs and radio reports. In total, over 26,000 messages were registered and later beamed into space by NASA.
In 2012, Wilson da Silva will become one of Australia’s first citizen astronauts when he takes a suborbital flight into space. The technology from these ventures is expected to usher in a new golden age of aviation that will eventually see flights from Sydney to London in three hours.
Wilson da Silva is passionate about science and believes that, with determination and ingenuity, science and technology can solve many of the world’s most pressing problems.
It is rare indeed to come across inspirational speakers who are not only supremely well-informed but are able to capture and hold the interest and attention of audiences of all sorts. Wilson da Silva is just such a speaker, with an impressive breadth and depth of knowledge, and an ability to operate impeccably in professional /formal as well as informal settings. I have no hesitation in wholeheartedly recommending him as a speaker and/or compere, and will continue to work with him whenever I am lucky enough to have the opportunity.
-Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus)
Wilson offers a unique combination of skills involving scientific curiosity, journalistic integrity and an engaging style that all come across on stage. I was particularly pleased to have Wilson host several high profile events at Canada’s Perimeter Institute, tied to our 10th anniversary celebration known as the “Quantum to Cosmos: Ideas for the Future” festival. Wilson was not only an excellent Master of Ceremonies with the right dose of authority and humour, he also steered panel members through some challenging subjects and, ultimately, provided live theatre and television audiences with an insightful and rewarding experience. We were so pleased with Wilson’s participation, that I am very happy he is back with us to host, and indeed lead the programming, of our next major event in the Spring of 2011. This special activity will not only tap Wilson’s considerable talent once again for the benefit of our general audiences, but will call upon his skills in several private, high level sessions involving leading scientific experts, government officials and a very wide range of VIPs. Such is the confidence we have in Wilson.