Looking to the stars – life as a space scientist, with Maggie Aderin-Pocock | The Rosalind Franklin Lecture 2022

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March 10th, 2022 19:00   --   20:30


Join space scientist, science educator, and broadcaster Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE for the 2022 Rosalind Franklin Lecture. With her characteristic enthusiasm and talent for simplifying complex ideas, Maggie will take us on a journey from 1970s inner London to the edge of the universe, culminating in discussion with award-winning journalist and broadcaster Samira Ahmed, Rosalind Franklin Lecture series chair.

About Maggie Aderin-Pocock

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock is a space scientist and science educator, perhaps best known for presenting BBC One’s The Sky at Night since 2014. She received an MBE in 2009 for services to science and science education, and Vodafone’s 2019 Woman of the Year Innovation Award. In 2020, she won the William Thomson, Lord Kelvin Medal and Prize from the Institute of Physics, and since September 2021, is President of the British Science Association.

Maggie had an unsettled upbringing, attending 13 different schools. She was diagnosed with dyslexia and though exceptionally bright, was shunted into a remedial class. As she says, ‘a government statistician would have forecast a pretty bleak future for me’.

Since leaving Imperial College London, where she obtained her degree in Physics and then her PhD in Mechanical Engineering, she has spent her career making novel, bespoke instrumentation in both the industrial and academic environments. Managing multidisciplinary teams, these instruments have ranged from handheld landmine detectors to an optical subsystem for the James Webb Space Telescope, launched on Christmas Day 2021. She also worked at EADS Defence and Space in Portsmouth where she leads the optical instrumentation group. There, she manages a range of projects making satellite sub-systems designed to monitor wind speeds and other variables in the Earth’s atmosphere. These systems were made under the European Space Agency’s Living Planet Programme and are designed to improve our current knowledge of climate change.

Maggie is the manager of Science Innovation Ltd., a company she founded to enable her to engage the world with the joys of space and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). To date, Maggie has directly engaged with 350,000 people across the world. She sits on boards of the Science Museum, The Unboxed Festival, and Science, Technology and Facilities Council (STFC). She also has a Science in Society Fellowship from the STFC, which enables her to engage the public with the science work that she loves. The Fellowship is held at University College London.

Maggie features commonly on radio and television, including Do We Really Need the Moon? (BBC Two) – awarded at the Women in Film and TV Awards –, Do We Really Need Satellites? (BBC Two), Brave New World (Channel 4), The One Show (BBC One), Ducks Quacks Don’t Echo (Sky One) with Lee Mack and I Literally Just Told You (Channel 4) with Jimmy Carr, and Mini Stargazing for CBeebies. Her book Sky at Night’s Book of the Moon was published in 2018 by BBC Books and her latest children’s book Dr Maggie’s Grand Tour of the Solar System hit shelves in 2019.  She is writing two new books which are due for release in 2022.

About Samira Ahmed

Samira Ahmed is a multi-award winning journalist and broadcaster with a special focus on culture, politics, and social change. She won Audio Broadcaster of the Year at the 2020 British Press Guild Awards for her work as a presenter of Front Row on BBC Radio 4 and her podcast How I Found My Voice.

About the Rosalind Franklin Lecture

Marking International Women’s Day, the Rosalind Franklin Lecture explores and celebrates the contribution of women towards the promotion and advancement of aspects of humanism in the UK and around the world. The Rosalind Franklin medallist has made a significant contribution in one of these fields.

The lecture and medal are named after Rosalind Franklin, humanist and scientist, whose contribution to science for many years went unacknowledged on account of her sex but who is today rightly celebrated.

The Rosalind Franklin Lecture 2022:
General ticket: £7.00