Our Team

ATOM is managed by a team of volunteers drawn from the science, education and business community in and around Abingdon-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.

Dr. Jennifer Turner


Jen is the founder of Bright Sparks Science, a Community Interest Company based in Abingdon, with an objective to make science fun, inspiring, and accessible to all. After completing a PhD in Biomedical Science, she discovered her passion for science outreach and is determined to inspire the next generation of scientists to get hands-on, through school workshops and festivals like ATOM. Jen has been involved with ATOM since 2017 and along with Megan and Jeremy she organises the Family Science Fair.



Jeremy Thomas


Jeremy Thomas is Co-ordinator of the Abingdon Science Partnership and a Physics teacher at Abingdon School. Before becoming a teacher he was involved in ocean wave forecasting research at The Met Office and was a remote sensing scientist at the British Antarctic Survey. He is an IOP Physics Coach, a member of the Education Group of the Association for Science Education and sits on the Education Committee of the Royal Meteorological Society. He has been responsible for organising schools and family events for the Festival since 2017.

Alfons Weber


Prof Alfons Weber received a Phd from the RWTH Aachen University in 1991 and worked for many years at at CERN. He came to the UK in 1999 and joined the particle physics department at the (now) UKRI/STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in 2001 on a joint appointment with the University of Oxford. His main research interest is in neutrino physics and developing electronics and novel detectors. Alfons is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and served on several reviews and advisory bodies for the UK Research Councils.


Alfons has been an Abingdon resident since 1999. He is a trustee of the festival and also on the committee of the Atom Society, which promotes all things science and technology to the general public in Abingdon.

Mark Thornton


Mark Thornton is one of the founders of Mostly Books bookshop, on Stert Street in Abingdon. Originally a computer scientist, Mark’s journey to bookselling was via a PhD in passive solar building design, a web design company and trips to Borneo and Congo to track timber out of forests. As a result of a shared passion for books and storytelling with his wife, they founded Mostly Books and ran it for over ten years before moving on to work in consultancy. Mostly Books continues to be closely associated with ATOM Festival under its new owners and offers science and technology titles at many ATOM events.


David Pennington


Following a career in design and development of electronic systems, mainly for the Royal Navy, Dave retired as Chief Systems Engineer of Ultra Electronics Command and Control Systems. He has lived in Abingdon since 2011. He has been the Treasurer of ATOM Festival for the past five years.



Iain Littlejohn


Iain Littlejohn is one of the founder members of the ATOM Festival of Science & Technology in 2014. He has run his own management consultancy business for the last ten years. Alongside this, Iain is engaged with various community activities. He is currently Chair of Governors at Larkmead School and a Director of HESA (Higher Educational Statistical Agency). He has lived in Abingdon for 20 years and is married with three children.



Kasia Lewis


Kasia Lewis is Director of Oxford International Biomedical Centre (OIBC) - a charity that organises Scientists in Schools - educational events aimed at enthusing more young people about science and encouraging them to choose further education in science subjects. Kasia has been a member of ATOM committee since 2014.



Professor Frank Close


Frank Close lives in Abingdon and is one of the founders of ATOM. He is Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford and a former head of the theoretical physics division at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. He is the author of bestselling books Antimatter, Neutrino, The Infinity Puzzle (the story behind the discovery of the Higgs Boson) and 'Half Life' (the true story of Harwell physicist Bruno Pontecorvo). This Summer sees the publication of 'Trinity: The treachery and Pursuit of the Most Dangerous Spy in History' about the life of Klaus Fuchs.
He has won the Association of British Science Writers award three times, was vice president of the British Association for Advancement of Science and won the Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize for Science Communication. He is also an experienced eclipse-chaser who has seen over a dozen eclipses - and in 2016 wrote 'Eclipse' published by Oxford University Press.”


Bryan Brown


Bryan Brown is Chair of the Abingdon Abbey Buildings Trust and is very involved in a range of civic and community initiatives. With a long career promoting the value of design to industry and education through his own companies and various design and business organisations, Bryan is passionate about science and technology, and its potential to build civic pride and economic benefits to the town of Abingdon.

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