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Prof Chris Done

She works at Durham University

Watch her 2014 talk: "Astrophysics for Dummies"

Prof Chris Done

Chris Done grew up wanting to be Spock from Star Trek, so doing a PhD in Astrophysics at Cambridge was living the dream. She worked on theoretical models of the intense high energy X-ray radiation which can be produced when material falls towards a black hole, before it disappears forever below the event horizon. She then moved to the USA, to NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center, and started to work more with observational data from these systems. An unexpected highlight was that she became part of the team doing real time control of an X-ray telescope in the payload bay of the Space Shuttle!

She returned to the UK, first to Leicester University and then to Durham, where she became one of the first women to be appointed as a Physics Professor. She now specialises in combining the best current theoretical models of what happens to material falling towards a black hole with the best observational data, working especially with the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) using their innovative X-ray satellites. So she gets paid to do rocket science, and think about black holes!

More videos? How about Annie Russel?

Annie Russell teaches Marine Biology to students from 5 to 18 years old as the Marine Education Officer at Newcastle University’s Dove Marine Laboratory in the School of Marine Science & Technology. Her particular interest is in developing a regional maritime curriculum. She is a keen diver and – though she trained as a marine biologist – after her degree she spent several years traveling the world and working as a PADI Diving Instructor and a Commercial diver. This was followed by a stint as a secondary school science teacher before starting her current role five years ago.

Through her interactions with school groups and the Dove Marine Laboratory Summer schools, and direct experience of the Northumberland coastal ecosystem, Annie continues to develop a regional maritime curriculum which is real, relevant and appropriate.

Watch her talk or browse all speakers