Media and public engagement

Here’s a film I presented for The Sky at Night (BBC4): How to Make a Comet.

I enjoy making my science accessible to everybody and this is reflected in my role as a STEMNET ambassador where I work with schools to enthuse children about geology and space science.

I’m also involved in a lot of science media work (print/TV/radio) for which you can see a summary below. I’m currently a host for a new StarTalk radio All-Stars podcast series and I’ve written a popular science book called ‘Catching Stardust‘ that will be published by Bloomsbury Sigma in March 2018.

In 2013 I became a ‘BBC expert woman’ for space science and I have since appeared on television and radio regularly. I also became a British Science Association Media Fellow with The Guardian in 2013 where I wrote or contributed to over 20 written science articles and/or podcasts. Since then I have become a regular science contributor to The Conversation website where my articles remain as some of the top read of all OU academics and I also blog on my personal website about my research.

I was the main organiser for the 2014 ‘Catch A Comet’ exhibit at The Royal Society Summer Exhibition which attracted over 15,000 visitors.

Here’s a film I presented for The Open University’s involvement in the Rosetta mission: Five Questions about the Rosetta Landing:


My specialist areas include: solar system space science (comets, asteroids, planets) and space missions (such as NASA Stardust, ESA Rosetta, NASA OSIRIS-REx, JAXA Hayabusa). I also regularly write about science for website blogs and news pieces.

  • TV work

National Geographic Channel series. Strange Truth: The day the sky fell. Interviewed on the Rosetta space mission.

BBC2 series. Worlds’s Weirdest Events. Interviewed on Indonesian ‘blue lava’ and mysterious Siberian craters.

Sky at Night – How to Catch a comet (Revealing secrets of comet dust) in August 2014 and Rosetta Special (Presenter: How to build a comet) in November 2014.

BBC Breakfast – Close asteroid fly-by (February 2013), Rosetta Wake-up (January 2014), Rosetta landing (November 2014)

BBC News Channel – Close asteroid fly-by/Russian meteorite (February 2013); Perseids Meteor shower (August 2013); Comet ISON approaching Sun (November 2013), Rosetta wake-up (January 2014) and Rosetta landing (November 2014)

BBC News at Six – Rosetta wake-up (January 2014)

BBC News at Ten – Rosetta wake-up (January 2014)

BBC World News – Close asteroid fly-by/Russian meteorite (February 2013)

BBC Newsround – Close asteroid fly-by/Russian meteorite (February 2013)

BBC ‘Horizon: Truth about Meteors’ available on YouTube here.

BBC World Global – Comet ISON approaching Sun (November 2013)

Sky News – Comet close approach (March 2013), Rosetta Wake-up (January 2014), Rosetta landing (November 2014)

ITV Anglian – Rosetta Wake-up (January 2014)

  • YouTube

Open University Rosetta film: 5 things you didn’t know about Rosetta (Presenter – November 2014).

  • Podcasting and radio

StarTalk All-Stars host, shows will be broadcast in 2016 (and will be available on iTunes).

Guest on StarTalk Live! at the Beacon Theatre in New York. Part 1: Chasing Comets. and Part 2: King of the Kuiper Belt.

Guardian Science podcast: Science weekly news updates – July 2013

Guardian Science podcast: Royal Society Summer Exhibition (reporter) – July 2013

Guardian Science podcast: female fertility and ageing (reporter) – October 2013

Guardian Science podcast: the wonder of human skin (reporter) – March 2014

Radio 4 – Inside Science: Show us your instrument (December 2013)

Radio 5 live – Comet ISON nearing the Sun (November 2013), Rosetta Wake-up (January 2014), Rosetta landing (November 2014)

Milton Keynes Citizen Newspaper and here. – My research and laboratory and Russian meteorite (March 2013).

‘The Science Show’ on Australian ABC National radio: Why more women are paying for lip service. I comment about a topic related to a story I researched for my media fellowship placement.

‘The Science Show’ on Australian ABC National radio: Comet dust reveals secrets from a younger Solar System. I’m interviewed about comets and my research.

BBC World Service – The Business of Space Exploration – July 8th 2014

Royal Society Summer Exhibition 2014 podcast

  • Writing: Newspaper, magazine, book chapters, blogs written by myself

Guardian science and environment articles and blog pieces written by myself – see here for a selection (July 2013).

The Open University ‘Engaging Research‘ blog. I review my British Science Association Media Fellowship.

Your house is full of space dust (The Open University ‘OpenLearn’ blog)

Rosetta blog  (The Open University ‘OpenLearn’ blog)

Your house is full of space dust – it reveals the solar system’s story (The Conversation)

Comet ISON fizzles…but there’s a sting in the tail (The Conversation)

Looks like a comet but feels like an asteroid? That’s wild!! (The Conversation)

Sleeping spacecraft Rosetta ready to wake up for comet landing (The Conversation)

Why Rosetta is the greatest space mission of our lifetime (The Conversation)

Rosetta comet mission: five questions you desperately want answered (The Conversation)

Comet Chasing: The Rosetta Story. Chapter in Patrick Moore’s Yearbook of Astronomy 2016 (Published by Pan Macmillan)

  • Newspaper/magazine interviews

Telegraph article: Rosetta mission to comet.

International Business News:Comet ISON.

The Guardian – Russian meteorite (February 2013)

The Huffington Post – Russian meteorite (February 2013)

BBC Focus Magazine – Interviewed by Stuart Clark on Space science highlights for 2014 (no link available) and on an article by James Lloyd: Rosetta spacecraft: All you need to know.

Chemistry World. Interviewed for article in 2015, More than Dirty Snowballs.

Open University OpenMinds journal – article on my work and Rosetta

BBC Expert Women 2013

In 2013 I attended the BBC Academy Training Day for Female Experts. This was a pan-industry event to search for new women experts for television, radio and online broadcast. I was one of thirty specialists chosen to attend the day which involved gaining experience presenting to camera, being interviewed on television and being part of a radio discussion. You can read my report about the day on my blog here. Podcasts, including my own, from all the women experts who attended the course are available on the BBC Expert Women YouTube Channel.

Guardian science media fellow 2013

I was chosen as one of the 2013 Media Fellows with the British Science Association. I completed my placement with The Guardian newspaper science and environment team in London in July 2013. On this placement I learnt how to write science news stories in the general press, figuring out how to condense complex information and present it in a clear way. You can see updates about this in my blog with links to all the stories and podcasts I was involved with, and some of my stories are available in this link.