EO Detective ID LE10-3105-RRL-5PACE
What do you work on?
During my PhD I was involved in running and designing outreach activities for schools which lead me to my current job. I work as an outreach office for the National Centre for Earth Observation where I design and run outreach activities related to Earth Observation Science. I think that this work is extremely important as it encourages people to learn about Earth Observation science, and, with school-children especially, this can have a huge impact on career choices and people’s opinions of science in general.
How did you come to be an EO Detective?
I studied Chemistry with Forensic Science as a degree and, as part of that, I did a research project that I really enjoyed. I used a technique normally used to analyse gases in the atmosphere to work out what gases are given off when marker pens dry. After this project I decided to go on to study for a PhD and chose to do a PhD in atmospheric remote sensing. I used a technique similar to those on satellite instruments to monitor pollutant concentrations in the air in cities. I have always been interested in atmospheric science as it directly impacts on the general public, especially when measuring pollutants which can be harmful to human health.
What does the image show?
This is an image showing concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (a pollutant) measured from a rooftop in Bologna, Italy. This image was taken with a ground-based version of a satellite instrument built at The University of Leicester. Areas coloured in red have the highest concentrations of nitrogen dioxide and those in blue have the lowest. You can see that the highest levels of nitrogen dioxide are in the direction of the city centre and airport.
How is the data you use collected?
The data I used during my PhD was collected with an instrument called CityScan that was designed and built in Leicester. I was involved in the building of CityScan and I also got to help to install it in Bologna and London.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The part of my work I enjoy the most is talking to the general public and school-children about science and seeing them become more interested and excited in the topic than they were before I met them.
Tell us about your favourite image of the Earth from space
This is a picture of Berlin. It is my favourite firstly because Berlin is one of my favourite cities, secondly because I love these night-time images of cities showing the street lights, and finally because it also shows the historic divide between East and West Berlin in the different colour street lights. From space it is almost as if the Berlin wall still stands.
What do you do in your spare time?
In my spare time I am a member of a community choir which has 50 singers aged between 15 and 70! I also attend a weekly pottery class (which is a great way to relax) and spend time with my family, including my two dogs and cat.