What is A Astronomer?

I put a tweet out a few weeks back to find people to speak to about this series “What is A…” and Roy Alexander of Astro Ventures was kind enough to offer.  Please check out my other interviews!

How long have you been a Teacher/Astronomer? Please tell us about the field of study you specialise in?

About 25 years as a teacher now, and an Astronomer since I was 9. I am a physicist and physics teacher and my degree specialised in Geophysics and Planetary Physics.

Roy Alexander Astronomer

Why did you pick this particular field of study?

I wanted to be an astronaut originally so started to do astrophysics and astronomy, but the maths was too hard so I changed to geophysics halfway through!

What did you want to be when you were younger?

Pretty much always wanted to be a pilot, or astronaut, or something to do with space!

Why would you suggest this as a job for me?

All space based careers are at the leading edge or human endeavour and knowledge. You’ll constanly be meeting new people, and discovering new things – never a dull day. And if you end up teaching it, then that’s even better – being able to pass on that knowledge and enthusiasm to others.

What qualifications did you need? Where did you study?

An honours degree and a teaching degree or PGCE for the teaching side of things. If you want to get into research you really need a Masters degree or PhD these days.

Who would be your hero? Who would you be excited to meet in your field?

Richard Feynman was a great inspiration as both a physicist and a teacher. I’ve already met Lord Martin Rees and Professor Brian Cox so now I’d like to meet Bill Nye.

What has been the “best day” at your job?

Any day when the skies are clear and people are seeing the universe for the first time, and are left spellbound by it.

Astronomer

How did you end up working in your current role?

I heard that a local business was building an observatory so I drove up there and introduced myself and offered to help. after a couple of meetings they liked what I had to offer and I’m still there now. 🙂

What is coming up next for you?

We’re doing some sessions in local libraries over the summer “we’re going on a space hunt” with local schoolchildren, and we’re also speaking to a couple of big hotels about building and running observatories for them and their guests.

Thanks very much Roy for being a part of my series.  Please watch out for my blogs over the coming weeks about things happening over the Summer!

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