Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock is a space scientist that lives in London. She has designed a host of space instruments, and presented the tv programme the Sky at Night.
Born in London to Nigerian parents in the late sixties, she moved between 13 schools during her childhood, struggling to show her potential in the face of what she later recognised as dyslexia. It was her dream of space travel that provided the motivation in those difficult years.
After graduating with a BSc in physics, and later a PhD in mechanical engineering, from Imperial College London, she worked for the Ministry of Defence on projects ranging from missile warning systems to landmine detectors, before returning to her first love: building instruments to explore the wonders of space. “The telescope is just mind boggling,” she says of the Gemini instruments, her voice abuzz with her trademark fervour. “I like to call it a cathedral to science because sometimes I go out to Guildford Cathedral and [it has] this big vaulted ceiling. It is large and echoey, and the telescope is just the same.”
Dr Aderin-Pocock is passionate about more girls becoming scientists:
“There aren’t enough people going into science, especially girls,” says Aderin-Pocock. “The structure of the UK is changing. We used to be a manufacturing society, but most manufacturing can be done elsewhere and more cheaply. We’ve become a knowledge economy but to have that, we need to have people coming through with ideas. It’s a matter of getting science out there and showing the difference we can make in people’s lives.”
You can learn more about her here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lo5hVIhSL4o