Dr Suzie Imber inspires young girls to pursue careers in space science

Dr Suzie Imber from our Department of Physics and Astronomy recently appeared in an episode of Channel 4’s ‘The Secret Life of 4 and 5 Year Olds’ where she spoke to young girls about pursuing a career in space science.

The episode, which was broadcast on 6 February to mark 100 years since women first won the right to vote in the UK, was an all-girl special revealing how girls see themselves and the role of women.

Suzie spoke to a number of eager pupils about space, answering a range of questions – including if space rocks were responsible for wiping out the dinosaurs.

The girls then formed a space crew and engaged in a number of practical activities in order to make a ‘rocket’ take off.

“I’m hoping to inspire young people to be interested in science through showing them some of the adventures that my career has enabled me to experience,” Suzie said. “Interacting with the children and seeing them engaging with science and aspiring to become astronauts, researchers and space scientists was a really rewarding experience.”

Last year, Suzie won BBC Two’s ‘Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?’, receiving the ultimate reference – former Commander of the International Space Station Chris Hadfield’s backing for her application to train to be an astronaut when the space agency ESA next take on astronaut recruits.

Suzie’s current research at our University looks at terrestrial space weather and Mercury’s magnetosphere, and during a recent appearance on The One Show she showed a replica of the X-ray spectrometer designed and constructed by a team of Leicester scientists, engineers and technicians which will be aboard the pioneering BepiColombo mission to Mercury.

BepiColombo is Europe's first mission to Mercury. It will set off in 2018 on a journey to the smallest and least explored terrestrial planet in our Solar System. When it arrives at Mercury in late 2025, it will endure temperatures in excess of 350 °C and gather data during its 1 year nominal mission, with a possible 1-year extension.

'The Secret Life of 4 and 5 Year Olds' is an award-winning series that offers an intimate and fascinating window on the ups, downs, tears, tantrums and triumphs that unfold when a class of children meet each other for the first time.