Sarah Crowther

by | Feb 15, 2022

Research Fellow, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

My research looks at the evolution of the early Solar System through laboratory-based chemical analysis of extra-terrestrial materials.

A large part of my research focuses on age-dating meteorites, to unravel the thermal and impact histories of their parent asteroids.

I am a member of the international Science Team that analyses samples returned by NASA’s Genesis mission, and I’m part of international teams analysing samples from the Apollo missions, NASA’s Stardust mission and the Japanese Hayabusa missions.

Public engagement highlights

I lead the Earth and Solar System team, which takes part in various public events and science festival throughout the year.

Favourite events include the bluedot festival at Jodrell Bank (although it is exhausting each year!), and taking part in the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in 2019, with colleagues from the Open University, Oxford University, the Natural History Museum, and Birkbeck, University of London to mark the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the Moon.

I also organised a sell-out public lecture by NASA’s Chief Scientist in Manchester. A personal highlight was being awarded the Annie Maunder Medal for Outreach by the Royal Astronomical Society in 2019, which was a massive surprise.

Best public engagement advice

One of the most important things is to use appropriate language when talking to people about your research.

We use the technical terms and jargon in the lab all the time, but these words mean nothing to other people. If you use terms people don’t understand they will lose interest and switch off.

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