In some form or other, I have been doing astronomy outreach since I was at high school. Frustrated by the fact that there was barely any mention of astronomy in my physics classes, I decided to set up an astronomy club so that I could learn more and share my newfound knowledge with others.
My most significant outreach activity has been via the International Astronomical Youth Camp (IAYC), which has been a large part of my life since 2011. But the more outreach I did, the more I realised that something was missing. I wanted to understand if my public engagement was actually having an impact, and how I could improve.
This led me to the theoretical study of science communication, a relatively new field which becomes increasingly important as the gap between science and public continues to widen. Based on the literature, I developed my own workshop on science communication, which I deliver to early career researchers in astronomy and physics.
I also began to research the influence of the IAYC, inspired by the recent 50-year anniversary of the camp. This was a remarkable experience, connecting with previous participants who attended many decades ago, and hearing about the profound impact that the IAYC had had on their life. The results of this work so far have been published in Nature Astronomy, with more research to come.
“I think the people of this country have had enough of experts”Michael Gove, UK Member of Parliament