uk resource centre for women in science, engineering and technology

Maggie Aderin

For Science Communication - Dr Maggie Aderin

Maggie was born in London to Nigerian parents in the late 60s, and attended school in London and the Home Counties. Maggie received a degree in Physics and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Imperial College London. For her PhD she developed an instrument for the oil industry, which is still used today to test engine oils and additives.
Maggie AderinSince then Maggie has continued making novel, bespoke scientific instrumentation, including hand held land mine detectors for the MoD. She spent 6 years at University College London leading a team of 17 scientists making a multi-million pound spectrograph for the Gemini observatory in Chile. This enables scientists to calculate the life cycle, and movement of stars and planets billions of miles away and gives us insight into our local environment in space.
Maggie now works as a senior project manager for SIRA Ltd and is completing a climate monitoring system for a European Space Agency satellite due for launch in 2008. Her next project is a subsystem for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which is the replacement for the Hubble Space Telescope.
Public understanding of science is a cause close to Maggie's heart and she has made a number of appearances on the BBC showing the work of her group and setting up simple experiments that the public can do at home. Maggie wanted to use her enthusiasm and love of science to persuade children, especially girls and those from ethnic minorities that they, like her, can have fulfilling careers in science. So she set up her own company Science Innovation Limited (SIL) with a primary goal of public engagement of science, with an emphasis on ethnic minorities and girls. SIL is run from home in her spare time.
Through SIL Maggie presents the 'Tour of the Universe' show which gives school children a taste of space while on a journey from our planet through the solar system, out to the Milky Way and beyond. As the children 'fly' past the celestial bodies Maggie, a working “rocket scientist”, gives details on the objects observed and undertakes demonstrations with the audience. She also highlights the benefits of space science and astronomy to society today and why it inspired her to do the job she loves.
In the last 12 months, Maggie has taken over 1250 children in the UK (mainly in central London and Birmingham) and 850 children in Israel (including Jews, Muslims and Christians) on Tours of the Universe. This has been achieved through sponsorship including the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council and the British Council.
Maggie hopes that the 'Tour' can be taken to Nigeria later this year visiting school children and viewing the total eclipse with them in March. While in Africa she would also like to make a short documentary “African Science – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.”
Dr Maggie Aderin
Managing Director of Science Innovation Limited
Senior Project Manager, Space Science at Sira Limited
Senior Research Fellow at University College London

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