Meet Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, the woman whose career is quite literally out of this world

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career inspiration science

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock is a space scientist and co-presenter of BBC Four’s The Sky At Night. She lives in Guildford with her husband and their eight-year-old daughter.    


At around 7.30am if I’m at home and not filming, but I’m often woken earlier by my daughter Lauren. I work from home, so I get her ready for school, then I review my emails and check what’s happening that day.


Co-presenting The Sky At Night.

I also run my own company called Science Innovation Limited, which aims to bring science to as many people as possible, as well as doing space-science consultancy. I’m also working on two books, which is a big challenge as I suffer from dyslexia. My first book, The Sky At Night Book Of The Moon, was almost a love letter to the moon, which made it easier for me.


After years working in science. I have a degree in physics and a PhD in mechanical engineering from Imperial College London. I’ve worked on space-instrumentation projects, with telescopes and at the Ministry of Defence.

When the BBC asked me to host The Sky At Night following Patrick Moore’s death, I was blown away. It was the show I had special permission to stay up late to watch as a child. Stepping into the shoes of such an icon as Patrick for such a well-loved programme was daunting, but we keep getting recommissioned so it seems to be going well.

careers in science

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock balances her presenting role with running her own company, consulting and teaching children about space 


Could see me reviewing scripts for the TV shows I’m working on, including a kids’ programme called Dr Maggie’s Space Adventures and a Sky One drama about women who travel to another galaxy. Or I could be preparing to chair a meeting for organisations such as NASA and the European Space Agency, or speaking to school children. Every day is different – I love that about my work.

For lunch I often have a slab of roast salmon with vegetables or a salad. After giving birth, I developed a dairy allergy so I tend to cook for myself – eating out can be a game of Russian roulette.


Was working on one of the world’s biggest telescopes – the Gemini telescope in Chile. I spent nine months there. It was one of the most amazing experiences – the project was so engaging that I wanted to stay out there forever.


Is the paperwork involved with running my own company. Because of my dyslexia, the written word has never been my friend.


Is going to a classroom where the kids are thinking, ‘This is going to be boring,’ but then I see the wonder on their faces as I talk to them about space. We live in an amazing universe and if I can engage people in it then that is definitely job satisfaction for me.

work life

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock is currently working on a TV show called Dr Maggie’s Space Adventures


I love going to the cinema with my daughter – I’m looking forward to seeing The Lego Movie 2. Working at home means that I can have a snooze in the day, then work into the wee hours – I focus more at night when there are fewer emails and calls. If it’s clear, I’ll get up and look out at the stars and the moon.

My Plan B: Actor

I loved acting at school – I’d go for main parts in school plays. But it always seemed like a challenging career and science was a much safer bet. I still love science fiction, though, and would love to appear in the next Star Trek film – that would be a dream come true.

Images: Holly McGlynn


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