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Maggie has led projects making anything from land mine detectors to satellite sub-systems that measure variables like wind speed to improve our knowledge of climate change. In presentations the Sky At Night expert talks about exploring space with missions like Rosetta, and how we live in a galaxy with 200 billion stars. Maggie believes that with 100 billion galaxies in the universe, there must be life out there – simply as a matter of probability.
Dame Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock is a scientist and broadcaster referred to as the BBC’s ‘face of space’. She is the presenter of the astronomical institution The Sky at Night, has fronted a number of space documentaries, and regularly appears on science and non-science programmes.
From a modest background and diagnosed with dyslexia, Maggie overcame the naysayers to study at Imperial College where she obtained her degree in Physics and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. After her studies, she toured the UK speaking to inner-city schools about what scientists do, why they do it, and how to be one with the aim of inspiring the next generation of physicists.
Since then, she has spent her career making novel, bespoke instrumentation in both the industrial and academic environments. These instruments have ranged from hand-held land mine detectors to an optical subsystem for the James Webb Space Telescope (the replacement for the Hubble space telescope). She has worked for the MoD on missile warning systems, and for aerospace giant EADS on a range of projects to monitor the earth’s atmosphere.
Maggie is a research fellow and an Honorary Research Associate at University College London, and continues to work to engage the public with science. She augments her ‘Tours of the Universe’ presentations to young and old with regular TV and radio appearances. As well as fronting The Sky at Night, Maggie has appeared in programmes including Stargazing Live, The Science of Doctor Who, and In Orbit: How Satellites Rule Our World.
Maggie has said the achievements of Neil Armstrong landing on the moon captured her imagination and drive to "get out there into space". In turn she has engaged school children around the world. She credits her deep passion for science as the tool that allowed her to break through social mobility barriers.
Maggie also tackles science education and public understanding, and women in science and engineering. She received an MBE for services to science and science education. Maggie is an engaging and passionate speaker. Her enthusiasm for science and learning is infectious.
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Aderin-Pocock on inspiring youngsters