Profile

Dr Sunny Bains is a scientist, journalist, editor, expert in technical communication, and author of Explaining the Future: How to Research, Analyze, and Report on Emerging Technologies (Oxford University Press, 2019). She currently teaches at UCL Engineering, where she has developed a programme to teach technical argument, writing, presentation, and professional skills to undergraduates and postgraduates across the faculty. She is the founder and Editorial Director of Engineering Inspiration (ENGins), and runs a small company – Form & Content Media – that specializes in creating and curating readable content about science and technology.

For more than two decades, Sunny’s main focus was tech journalism. During this period, she wrote for magazines including The Economist, Science, New Scientist, EE Times, Laser Focus World, and Wired. At the same time, she was busy launching and editing publications, starting with Holographics International Magazine in the late 80s. At SPIE (The International Society for Optics and Photonics) she founded several titles, including Optical Computing and Robotics and Machine Perception. Then, through Form & Content Media, she helped create projects including SPIE Newsroom, The Neuromorphic Engineer, and The Briefing.

At UCL Engineering, she has been a key member of the team implementing the Integrated Engineering Programme: an ambitious project designed to change the way engineering is taught – and the kind of graduates UCL produces – by focusing on learning-by-doing activities and by giving students appropriate training to succeed in these exercises.

A big part of this is Engineering Inspiration (ENGins), based on The Briefing. ENGins (which started as The Briefing) helps connect early undergraduates with the real world of industry and research without expecting them to be able to read journal papers.

She has served on the Governance Committee of the National Association of Science Writers (US) and, twice, on the Executive Board of the Association of British Science Writers. Last year she was elected to serve as Secretary in the World Federation of Science Journalists, for which she helped develop the WFSJ-Briefing platform focussed on Covid-19. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Sunny is still passionate about the many subjects that she followed for two decades as a scientist and journalist: holography and displays; optical, photonic, and analog computing; and machine intelligence. She is currently working on a book about neuromorphic engineering.