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An interview with Dr Nicolas Bonne

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do…

I’m a visually impaired astronomer and science communicator. I grew up in Australia, where it’s easy to get to somewhere with low light pollution and a stunning view of the dark night sky. Even though I couldn’t see very much of it (maybe a few bright stars, the Moon and some of the Milky Way), I found space really fascinating. By about the age of five I’d decided that I wanted to be an astronomer when I grew up. My research background is galaxy evolution, or studying how galaxies change and what can make them change. Since moving to the UK, I made the shift into science communication and I’m currently leading on a public engagement project called the Tactile Universe, which is looking at ways to make the subject of astronomy accessible to other visually impaired people.

Galaxy evolution, is the study of how galaxies change and what can make them change.

Q: What does an average day look like for you?

A: The great thing about my job is that every day is completely different. Some days I get to 3D print and test new models and designs that we can use to make teaching astronomy easier, other days I visit other scientists, teachers and science communicators to help them learn how to teach science to visually impaired people. I also visit lots of schools to talk to students about the kinds of research that other astronomers I work with are doing.

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Dr Nicolas Bonne
Public Engagement and Outreach Fellow, Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, University of Portsmouth

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