Maggie Aderin-Pocock


Meet Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock, a British scientist who is best known for her work with the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest space telescope ever made, now has a Barbie doll. Her other achievements include becoming the first Black woman to win gold at the Physics News Awards and being appointed as chancellor of the University of Leicester. These achievements were no easy task; growing up, Aderin-Pocock attended 13 different schools but often struggled because of her dyslexia.

The toy company Mattel has honored many of our Black queens and pioneers with dolls, with Aderin-Pocock’s being the newest addition. The doll marks a full circle moment for the space scientist who grew up playing with ones that didn’t look like her. Even today, she says she plays “Barbie” with her daughter and never thought she’d see the day where she’d be adding her very own doll to the play date.

Aderin-Pocock said in an interview with The Guardian, “Learning that Mattel is planning to immortalize you in Barbie form would be a “pinch me” moment for anyone. It feels especially surreal for me. When I was growing up, Barbie offered a narrow ideal of beauty: she was thin and blonde, with straight hair and blue eyes, and she didn’t look a bit like me. But times have changed. I’ve been lucky enough to receive a number of awards in my career, but I think having a Barbie role model made in my image may be one of the most important.”

This Barbie will not only serve as more representation for our little Black queens but will also share Aderin-Pocock’s inspirational life story. It will let little girls everywhere know that they too can shoot for the stars!

Maggie Aderin-Pocock, is the Nigerian-British Space scientist, space instrument designer and educator raising awareness about climate change and encouraging children especially girls to build interests in STEM subjects including Space Science. Through her company, she has been visiting schools – to give children a tour of the universe.

“I have been trying to get out there and show people, show black kids, that to be a scientist isn’t an odd thing. Again it is these stereotypes – many kids will see black sports people, black singers, but they won’t see a black scientist and so they eliminate that from their hit list of things to do.”

Aderin-Pocock who was awarded an MBE in 2009 New Year’s Honours list for services to science education worked as a scientist on aircraft missile warning systems for the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, UK Ministry of Defence. She has gone on to hang outside of aeroplanes taking images of missiles going underneath her while working on space satellites designed to collect data for climate research.

“I suffer from dyslexia and was generally thought to be pretty dumb when I started school, so I was put in the remedial class,” she tells The Guardian. “I don’t think we’ll say climate change isn’t happening. But we might see it from a different perspective, perhaps a more human perspective, and therefore present the data in a different way or something.”

With a degree in Physics and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering, she’s worked on the 8m Gemini telescope in Chile, and the James Webb Space Telescope and has worked on instruments for the Aeolus satellite, which measure wind speeds to help the investigation of climate change.

Aderin-Pocock whose middle name is Ebunoluwa has been on TV after joining the team of the long-running BBC astronomy show Sky at Night in 2013. In 2013, Maggie Aderin-Pocock was honoured on the UK Power List as one of the UK top 10 most influential black people and in 2008 she received the Arthur C Clark Outreach Award for Promotion of Space (just to name a few).

“I was brought up in the late 1960s – born 1968 – and [in] 1969 people landed on the moon. I was born in that bubble of excitement, of people going out there and I always thought: when am I going out?”

“I still want to go. It’s my dream.”


Source : WomenAfrica