Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock

photo: Lovelight Photography

Space scientist, author and TV presenter

What did you like to do on weekends when you were 10?
When I first went to school, I didn’t like reading because I’m dyslexic. Then I watched a series on the BBC about Heidi, and I loved it, so I read the book and because it was the Heidi of my imagination, it seemed magical. Then I became a real bookworm, especially science fiction books because they could take me on all the journeys I wanted to go on. I also liked to do art and it’s something I still like to do, colouring in and drawing and calligraphy.

What would you tell young girls aspiring to go to space?
To any girl who’s got the space bug, I’d say YES, you’ve got the right idea! Only about 550 people have ever been out in space out of all the people who’ve ever lived on planet Earth, so it is quite an elite group. I’d say, I hope you get there, and if you do, will you come back for me because I want to get out there too!

What has been your greatest hurdle in life?
I would say the dyslexia has been my biggest hurdle. Dyslexia means your brain just works in a different way; you’re sort of wired slightly differently. When I was first at school, it was a challenge because I found reading and writing quite hard. I was put in the remedial class, so I became quite disinterested in school for a while. But at the same time, the dyslexia means that I think in a different way. My dyslexia brain will take me to new ideas, and I think that has been really important in my career. So although it’s been the biggest challenge in my life, it’s also been one of the biggest benefits.

 

DR MAGGIE ADERIN-POCOCK was interviewed by Clarrie and Jess in issue 9.