Occupation: Space Scientist and Science Communicator
Year born: 1968
Research Areas: Mechanical Engineering, Satellites
"I like to try and translate some of the complexities of science into a simple format for everybody to understand."
Source: Vitae - Maggie Aderin-Pocock
Maggie grew up in a working-class family in London, UK and wanted to be an astronaut but her teacher was not very encouraging. Maggie studied sciences and maths at school anyway. She went on to achieve a degree in physics and a PhD in mechanical engineering. She was not sure what to do when she left university. Maggie’s first job was working for the Ministry of Defence. She worked on systems to warn and protect aircraft from missiles and to detect landmines. Maggie’s dream had always been to work in space and astronomy, so she switched to working in university research.
Maggie’s background in physics and mechanical engineering turned out to be the perfect combination of knowledge and skills for making satellites. The first telescope she worked on was the Gemini Telescope in South America. She got to spend nine months in Chile, working on the telescope and says it is the highlight of her career so far. Maggie has recently worked on scientific instruments for the Aeolus satellite. This satellite will help improve weather forecasting and improve our knowledge of climate change and air pollution.
Maggie is passionate about inspiring young people to become engineers and scientists. She runs her own company called ‘Science Innovation Limited’ which works to share her passion for space and science with people across the world. She tours schools and talks to students and their families about her life and work. You can often see Maggie on TV and she has co-hosted the BBC astronomy show ‘The Sky at Night’ since 2014.
Maggie was diagnosed with dyslexia as a child and she struggles with writing and paperwork. Despite that, she has published three books on space and astronomy and has written scripts for TV shows.
Maggie was appointed a MBE by the Queen for services to science education. In 2020, the Institute of Physics awarded her with a medal for her work.
Maggie enjoyed acting at school and took part in lots of school plays. Her dream is to appear in a Star Trek film.