A passion for space
Space scientist and TV presenter Maggie Aderin-Pocock inspires young people with her enthusiasm for science. Here she explains how she became fascinated by the mysteries of the universe.
'I think that my first awareness of the night sky was via the moon. Even as a toddler, I was fascinated by it. As I grew up I heard about the moon landings and then everything seemed possible. As I got older my desire to visit space grew through reading sci-fi stories and watching Star Trek. My parents noticed this interest so I got special permission to stay up late and watch The Sky at Night. I was hooked.'
At the age of eight, Maggie was diagnosed with dyslexia. She overcame obstacles and gradually recognised her own talent for science. She remembers the day, aged 10, that she put her hand up in class to answer what she thought was an easy question.
'I looked around and saw that no one else had their hand up,' she told The Guardian. 'So I thought I must have it horribly wrong and put my hand back down – and then thought, oh give it a try. I answered the question and the teacher was surprised. It’s that enjoyment of getting something right, when nobody else had.'
When she was 15, Maggie joined a telescope-making class at a local school. This set her on the road to studying space science at university. Maggie is now a top scientist and presenter of the BBC’s Sky at Night. She also brings her enthusiasm to over 100,000 young people on her Tours of the universe talks in schools.
'It’s about engaging with young people and showing them the relevance of science. I can see the wonder of space and because of my job I can tell them about rockets and aliens.'
With her relaxed and fun approach, Maggie embodies Scouting’s emphasis on informal education and giving young people opportunities to learn new things.
Watch Maggie Aderin-Pocock in the BBC programme Do we really need the moon?
Check out our series of blogs about Scouts in space.