The British Science Association (BSA) has announced that Imperial alumnus Dr Margaret Ebunoluwa Aderin-Pocock MBE will take over as its President.
Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock is an innovator and space scientist, who after an undergraduate degree in Physics, completed a PhD in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in 1994, both at Imperial College London.
Imperial seemed like a magical place to me. When I was child, I used to go to the Science Museum with my sister. Walking past Imperial, I used to think, “That’s where the clever people and scientists go!”Dr Maggie Aderin-PocockImperial alumnus and incoming British Science Association President
Not only is she a science communicator, presenting the BBC’s The Sky at Night, but she is also managing Director of Science Innovation Ltd. This aligns with her long-term goal to expose children and adults to the wonders of space.
Maggie takes on the role of President from Imperial’s Lord Darzi, who is currently Co-Director of one of Imperial’s six Global Challenge Institutes, the Institute of Global Health Innovation.
When deciding where to pursue her further education, Maggie said: “Imperial seemed like a magical place to me. When I was child, I used to go to the Science Museum with my sister. Walking past Imperial, I used to think, “That’s where the clever people and scientists go!””
Changemaker and Activist
As the first black female President, Maggie is keen to overcome the poor representation of racial diversity within the STEM industries. On race, talking to the BSA, Maggie added: “Racism is too important an issue not to be talked about and dealt with publicly; we cannot hide from it and must take it on – despite these often being uncomfortable conversations.” She also expressed her support of the BSA’s mission to “transform the diversity and inclusivity of science.” This coincides with Maggie’s identification as neurodiverse, and her desire to bring awareness to disabilities expressed through the #Wethe15 Campaign.
Striving to also combat racism at an institutional level, Maggie has joined the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (CRED) and will discuss its subsequent Report published earlier this year at her Presidential Address.
The Future of Space
To officially mark her role, Maggie will host a Presidential Address at the British Science Festival During the address, Maggie will speak on her vision for space travel’s future as well as developing humanity’s knowledge of the galaxy. This will be followed by an intimate ‘fireside chat’ covering her career history, previous experiences, hobbies and interests as well her perceptions of society and contemporary science issues.
Katherine Mathieson, Chief Executive of the British Science Association, said: “We are delighted to welcome Maggie as our incoming President. She has done so much to engage new audiences, young and old – on screen, in print and through live events. Her infectious enthusiasm and gift for communicating space science in a way that translates to everyone make her an authentic and relatable ambassador.
“Maggie has overcome many challenges in her own education and career journey – having a neurodiversity and being one of very few Black women in space science and engineering – and we look forward to working with her this coming year to address the broader issues of equality, diversity and inclusion in science.”
Photo of Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock taken from British Science Festival.