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Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock helps students reach for the stars

13 January 2014

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock helps students reach for the stars

The new Sky at Night presenter and space scientist, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock gave the Margaret Collis ASE Primary Science Lecture at ASE Annual Conference 2014, Saturday 11 January. This was a quick start guide to the universe and highlighted the importance of science engagement with primary students.

One key term used was “The Power of Dreams” as often BME students are disenfranchised very quickly at school to think ‘science isn’t for us’.

Dr Aderin-Pocock used archeo-astronomy to evidence the opposite, from aboriginal creation stories, the prevalent use of astrolabes in the middle east and the building of the first observatories such as Nabta Playa in Africa even before Stonehenge. Since ancient times, regardless of geography and culture, societies have wondered about the universe.

Dr Aderin-Pocock spoke of her own experience to grapple with the how, what and why of becoming a scientist. She spoke of her own desire to become an astronaut, her inspirations including the first black woman in space, Dr Mae Jennison and other influences from a young age (The Clangers and Star Trek!). As a black student with dyslexia from London, part of Maggie’s story was to challenge traditional views of scientists and the importance of looking at scientists' imperfect lives so that children know that perfection is not required for science.

Astolabes  Dr Mae Jemison
Nabta Playa, Nubian Desert Chris Hadfield

Astronomy resources ideas

Interstellar Trip Planner

Celestia Real-time 3D visualization of space (Free download)

The Hubble Telescope’s Deep Field (Images and QuickTime Video)

Chris Hadfield YouTube Channel