Bubbly, enthusiastic scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock is not your typical space scientist. But the “Black dyslexic kid from a broken home in London,” as she says she’s been described, has spent decades inspiring hundreds of thousands of people young and old about craters on the moon and stars in the sky through a BBC space programme and regular live events.
Since 2013, Aderin-Pocock has presented the BBC Four programme The Sky at Night, covering everything from alien words to the brightest stars. The programme has been broadcast continuously since it was launched in 1957.
She also runs a science communication company called Science Innovation Limited, which aims to bring science “to as many people as possible.” This includes events to reach kids. Aderin-Pocock has engaged an estimated 250,000 children around the world through her science talks.
In a video for the Royal Society, Aderin-Pocock explained that she grew up amid the hysteria of the space race, and alongside classic space programmes like The Clangers.
She says she struggled with identity as a child , being told she was a “lost Nigerian”, because she’d never been to Nigeria, yet “not British”, because she’s Black.
“Space was that wonderful thing that transcended all of that because, when you look at the planet Earth from space, there are no countries, there are no boundaries. We’re just one people.”
Aderin Pocock holds a PhD in mechanical engineering from Imperial College London, and has studied the “majesty of the milky way” from Uluru in Australia, the Pendine Sands in Wales, and the Atacama desert in Chile.Tags: BBC, Space, STEM, UK