Oral history of British science
Aderin-Pocock, Maggie (14 of 14). An Oral History of British Science
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Space Science and Engineering
2013-08-15, 2013-08-22, 2013-09-26, 2014-01-14, 2014-02-13, 2014-04-03
British Library, London
Aderin-Pocock, Maggie, 1968- (speaker, female)
Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)
Part 14: Detailed comments on/stories of reading of science fiction books from childhood onwards, including significance of ‘Chocky’ by John Wyndham. [2:36] Comments on tendency, as a child, to identify with/be attracted to characters in science fiction (and fiction generally) that seemed able to control their emotions (mentions Spock and Sherlock Holmes). [4:24] Comments on watching of ‘Star Trek’ with father and sister, including significance of ethnicity of actress [Nichelle Nichols] playing character of Lieutenant Uhura. Discussion of particular reasons for interest as a child in ‘Star Trek’/particular ‘Star Trek’ characters. [5:51] Comments on recognition, as a ‘teenager’, that science fiction tended to involve a White cast; tendency to be much more concerned in own reading, as a teenager, of depiction of masculinity/femininity in science fiction; recognition (as a mother/adult) of particular gendering of ‘Chocky’. [8:18] Detailed comments on reading of ‘Mars trilogy’ [by Kim Stanley Robinson] as a young adult, including depiction of female characters. Comments on reading of Spiderman comics as a child; lack of reading of graphic novels. [10:42] Comments on awareness of Black scientists/female scientists developed by research for science communication work. [13:18] Detailed story of invitation to/appearance as television/radio commentator on announcement of recent [March 2014] discovery of ‘gravity waves’ in ‘cosmic microwave background’ in relation to theory of ‘cosmic inflation’ by ‘BICEP2 experiment’, including commentary by ‘Daily Mail’ blogger and response, including ‘offline’ apology from Assistant Editor of this newspaper and reasons for not wanting to comment at length publically due to wish not to inflate importance of ‘Daily Mail’ observations. Description (including reading) of ‘offline’ apology from Assistant Editor of the ‘Daily Mail’. [28:55] Comments on lack of interest in/comment on ethnicity of self/fellow commentator [Hiranya Peiris - HP] by staff of BBC news programme ‘Newsnight’ [17/3/14]; reasons for deciding to appear on this television programme, related to childcare/husband’s work commitments. [30:05] Comments on discussion with HP, prior to appearance on ‘Newsnight’, concerning individual/respective contribution to commentary. [31:13] Comments on reasons for choosing to, or not to, comment (in the media) on news stories involving science. Discussion of this decision making process. [34:40] Detailed comments on own approach to translation of science as reported/recorded in scientific journals into media/popular reports on science, with related stories. Comments on relations with presenter Jeremy Paxman on ‘Newsnight’. [40:53] Comments on/story of involvement in  BIS funded meeting involving establishment of working relations between scientists and BBC staff; role of BBC ‘commissioning editors’. [43:32] Detailed comments on ‘diversity’ of science media, including experience of this. [46:38] Further comments on own feelings concerning media discussions of self in relation to racial difference, including details of appearance on BBC ‘One Show’ presented by Chris Evans; reasons for feeling less concerned by ‘Daily Mail’ blog than HP; coincidence of own and husband’s views concerning ‘Daily Mail’ blog. [50:40] Comments on relations between own and husband’s careers, including ‘parity’ in earnings, and own, independent decision to seek flexible work in relation to childcare; anticipation of need to be organised in future to allow conduct of own and husband’s careers around timings of school day. [53:25] Comments on division of domestic work between self and husband. [54:40] Further comments on work at Astrium, from 2006 including assessment of value of space technology patents. [56:45] Further comments on work on instrument for ESA’s FLEX satellite mission, with description of decisions made concerning data gathering, use of filters and ‘gratings’. [1:04:21] Comments on relations between companies Sira, Astrium and SS during stages of amalgamation, including views of employees. [1:08:00] Detailed comments on level/nature of engagement with Nigeria as an adult, including thoughts about timing of own future, first visit, connected to development of daughter. Story of analysis of own genome as part of Natural History Museum project. Comments on interest in own ancestry/origins in relation to own daughter. [1:12:49] Story of relations with own mother from childhood onwards, including comments on development of close relations with mother and value of this for own daughter. [16:57] Comments on mother’s interest in own media career. Brief story of/positive comments on mother’s attendance at award of own MBE, Buckingham Palace.
Life story interview with space scientist and television presenter, Maggie Aderin-Pocock.