Thursday, 24 November 2011

Talking Space

Since becoming a STEM ambassador and doing my first gig at a local secondary school with a few others from Wiltshire Astro Society, I think my passion to talk about all things space, from how our Sun works to 9 year olds through to tracking and finding comets and asteroids to undergraduates, which is where I find myself going this weekend, has grown.

Giving lectures to University students is something I used to do in my former life as a Product Development and Planning "guru" for Yamaha R&D, where I was lecturing also on a part time basis to the University of Westminster's Masters Degree program for a time on the topics of synthesis and acoustics, but space science is different.

Sure, I talk about comets to astro societies and at such prestigious locations as the Festival of Astronomy, but this is just usually to enthusiastic amateurs, and not people who wish to make a full time career out of astronomy. So this past few weeks, after finishing up my latest piece for ESA on the amazing LISA Pathfinder mission testing, I have spent a lot of time reading up on orbital eccentricity and general areas related to the type of work we at Faulkes have been doing with students and my amazing friends in Italy in hunting down comets, main belt asteroids and this new "Jupiter Trojan" area..

Writing lecture notes, you begin to realise just how demanding being a full time lecturer can be, as not only are they researching, writing and doing general admin/day to day work, they also mark, personal tutor etc as's a tough old gig, so respect is very very much due.

The scopes (Faulkes and La Palma) have been undergoing maintenance and upgrades these past few weeks, which has given me some much needed downtime to re-assess many things, but one thing is for certain, my passion for all things spacey just gets bigger and bigger, and a passion that extends to trying to enthuse others, in particular children in to astronomy, I hope can only be a good thing.

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