This site is no longer being updated. The Vega Science Trust closed in March 2012, and this site has been left here for reference purposes.

Main Prize
Why did the Millennium Bridge Wobble
Best Educational Production
Vega Special Award


9-13th September 2002
BA Festival of Science

The 2002 Vega Awards were designed to showcase those producing the very best in scientific broadcasting, with an emphasis on scientific content - did the programme communicate real science to the audience in a clear and approachable way? Interest was high with submissions from round the globe including Japan, France, UK and Brazil.

The short listed finalists were shown at the “BA Festival of Science” in Leicester, one of the UK’s largest science festivals, from 9-13th September, as part of the Vega Science Trust’s popular “Scinematheque” science cinema event. Applicants ranged from traditional broadcasters such as the BBC, to small production houses and universities. The judges included Sir Harry Kroto, 1996 Nobel prize winner for Chemistry, and Eurfron Gwynne Jones, former head of BBC Education.


The winner of the Vega Main Prize is “Why did the Millennium Bridge Wobble" by Screenhouse Productions. This programme was part of the Science Shack Series for BBC2.

The Vega Educational Award goes to “Bread" as part of the Globo Science series produced by the Roberto Marinho Foundation for Canal Futura.

The Vega Special Award went to “Superfly” produced by Oxford Film and Television for the BBC.


The outright winner of the Vega Main Prize is "Why did the Millennium Bridge Wobble" (ScreenHouse Productions) This episode in the Science Shack series broadcast on BBC2 demonstrates in an entertaining way how the flexible dynamic characteristics of the Millennium Bridge across the Thames caused people to walk in step, building up sideways forces into a high amplitude wobble which made further movement almost impossible. The bridge dynamics are modelled with a test rig holding several people and the motion reproduced on a small scale. The experiment showed how resonances can generate complex wild vibrations from the movement of a small number of walkers and the way the walkers` further efforts to keep upright cause even wilder motions.

Judges comment "The ideas and final methods aimed at overcoming the problems using hydraulic dampers are nicely explained and overall the programme presents an excellent example of how to understand a real technical problem and find a practical solution. "

The Vega Educational Award goes to "Bread" Produced by Roberto Marinho Foundation, for the Globo Science series, Brazil. This series aims to stimulate interest in science of young people - in particular teenagers in Brazil. It uses a simple programme format with a light but serious touch to help the Brazilian public to understand technical and scientific matters in an entertaining way. This episode looks at the nutritional value of Bread and is designed to make for a very general audience aware of the way scientific and technical matters have direct and important impact on their everyday lives.

Judges comment "It is an excellent example of the way in which science can be made relevant to anyone".

"Superfly" produced Oxford Film & Television Ltd was awarded the Vega Special Prize. This film was commissioned by the BBC and examines the way Drosophilia melanogaster - slightly better known as the (common) fruit fly - has been used to unlock the secrets of life. The history of the use of the fruitfully is detailed and its major role today. The key factor is the short 3-week life cycle, which allows genetic factors to be tested over several generations in a very short time. The fact that 60% of our genes are the same as that of the fly gives us (and the fly!) some food for thought. Superfly takes us on a journey through the fly`s world as well as that of the researchers who work with it.

Judges comment "a humorous and informative animation and dialogue of the fly`s world".


The following entries were shortlisted, and highly commended by the judging panel.

Life at the Cutting Edge - Creating New Medicines
UCL Images

Genetic Engineering - Dreams and Nightmares
Leeds University

Science News Monthly `Space`
The Imagination Station, Canada

Links To Other Information:

BA Festival of Science

2002 Vega Award Winner
"Why did the Millennium Bridge Wobble"

Screenhouse Productions


Roberto Marinho Foundation
2002 Best Educational Award Winner

Canal Futura

Useful Links:
Problem Viewing Videos?
Please Read
Link to Vega
add us to your website

The Vega Science Trust is actively supported by: