Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock studied at Imperial College where she obtained her degree in Physics and her PhD in Mechanical Engineering. Since then she has spent her career to date making novel, bespoke instrumentation in both the industrial and academic environments. Managing multidisciplinary teams, these instruments have ranged from hand held land mine detectors to an optical subsystems for the James Webb Space Telescope, (The JWST is a joint ESA/NASA venture due to replace the Hubble Space Telescope around 2013).
Maggie works at Astrium Ltd in Portsmouth where she leads the optical instrumentation group. Here she manages a range of project making satellite sub-systems designed to monitor wind speeds and other variables in the Earths atmosphere. These system are made under the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Living Planet programme and are designed to improve our current knowledge of climate change.
Maggie also has a science in society fellowship from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) which enabling her to engage the public with the science work that she loves. The fellowship is held at the University College London (UCL). Through this work Maggie makes regular appearances on television and radio, as a space and education expert and presenting science to a general audience.
To further share her love of science, Maggie has also set up her own company in Guildford, Science Innovation Ltd (www.science–innovation.com). Through this Maggie conducts “Tours of the Universe” and other public engagement activities, these show school children and adults the wonders of space. To date she has given these talks to 50,000 people across the globe (30,000 of these have been school children in the UK) and has just produced a film through Science Innovation called “Space in the UK”, which features Maggie on a “Big Brother” spaceship on a journey to Mars. This is being distributed for free through schools and science festivals across the country.
"Just when Kant's formulation that 'the public exercise of reason should be free' had begun to seem so remote and exhausted, the Battle should reinforce one's faith in the enduring worth of dissent and of the free traffic in ideas"
Swapan Chakravorty, professor of english, Jadavpur University