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I’m so pleased to be part of this cherished and much loved institution. Presenting The Sky at Night has brought me full circle; as a child I would beg my parents to allow me to stay up late and watch the programme. It even inspired me to go to night school at a young age to make my own telescope mirror, which I lovingly crafted and gave me my first glimpse of the breath-taking spectacle above us.

This enthusiasm eventually led to a degree in Physics and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering and then working on the wonderful 8m Gemini telescope in Chile, as well as the James Webb Space Telescope. Growing up, I always wanted to be an astronaut - I haven’t succeeded in doing that (yet!) but being a space scientist is the next best thing because I’m building instruments that go into space.

I’m very lucky to have found work I enjoy so much and that is also so varied – not just building equipment that goes into space but also talking about it. I like to pass on my enthusiasm when I can. But I haven’t given up on that dream; I want to retire to Mars. Some people choose gardening, I choose Mars!



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