Lucy’s Three Wishes
Fri, April 11, 2014 by
Science was an important theme of our Settle Storytelling Festival in 2018. Our science adviser and mentor is Dr. Lucy Rogers, and as a reward for her great work with us, we are giving her three wishes!
“I would love a teleporter. To be able to get around the world – or to other planets – at a push of a button would be great. Although travel can be fun, it is often a chore. However, we can now teleport information, using email, the internet etc., and maybe soon items, using 3D printers, so things are already getting there.”
“My second wish? More accurate long term weather forecasts – many natural disasters are caused by the weather, so to be able to give more accurate notice of where a typhoon will hit would save many lives.”
“And third, cheap access to space. The main restriction of getting things into space is currently the cost. Reduce this, and all sorts of exciting opportunities – including space tourism – opens up.”
Lucy is an author and journalist, specialising in astronomy, spaceflight and engineering. She is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society, a member of the Association of British Science Writers and of the Women’s Institute. She also has a City and Guilds in Woodturning!
We asked her when she first became aware of her interest in science.
“My Granddad was always making things in his garden shed – from veteran car pieces to clocks. I was always interested in what he was doing, but really didn’t understand any ‘science’ until I was at secondary school.”
“We has a club at school based on the TV programme, The Great Egg Race, and our Physics Teacher would set us challenges, such as ‘balance this marble as far away from the desk as possible, only using sellotape and splints’; or ‘set off this party-popper from the other side of the room’; he’d then let us loose in his lab. I loved it, and my teacher suggested I went on an ‘Insight into Engineering’ week long course run by WISE (Women into Science and Engineering). I then applied to read Engineering at Lancaster University.”
What is it about science that holds her interest?
“I like to know how things work, why things happen, and to prove things. I enjoy logic. Science ticks these boxes. I also love learning, and science is full of things I don’t yet know.”
Becoming a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers was a professional highlight of Lucy’s career to date.
“This is the highest class of my profession institution, and recognises exceptional commitment to mechanical engineering. I am particularly proud of this, as my career has not been linear – I have moved subjects and roles a lot, and now have a ‘portfolio’ career, which means I get to play with lots of different exciting things, rather than, for example, staying within the car industry all my career.”
Lucy is the author of the highly regarded book, ‘It’s ONLY Rocket Science – An Introduction in Plain English’ , published by Springer. What was her aim in writing this?
“Volunteering with a company that was making a manned spacecraft, I realised I did not know how the parts of a rocket interacted. I wanted to read a primer and not wade through the many textbooks. As there was no such book, I decided to write it.”
“I am chuffed that Universities now use my book as a primer for their space engineering undergraduates. NASA’s ‘Quest Challenge’ use it as a source for teachers. And space enthusiasts, who do not have a science background, but are intrigued as to how things work, also enjoy it.”
“It is highly respected in the space community and as such has given me a passport of credibility in the industry. My book helps me prepare for my public audience talks, including radio and TV interviews. However, the best part is when young women email me to say they are now studying engineering as they were inspired by my book and me.”
Where does Lucy hope to take her career in the future?
“I aim to positively affect the lives of a billion people. I want to do this by improving the quality of life for people around the world. I am not yet sure what form this will take – maybe a new improved toilet, a better shelter for use in emergencies or helping to educate people. It may even be space related – my work on space debris has the potential to affect lives. I also really enjoy learning new things, so will also keep this thread in my work.”