Behind the Christmas Lectures – Danielle George joins RealScientists

Paul Wilkinson Photography Ltd.This week we are very pleased to welcome Professor Danielle George (@EngineerDG) as the curator of RealScientists. Danielle is Professor of Radio Frequency Engineering at the University of Manchester and she is also this years Christmas Lecturer at the Royal Institution of Great Britain.

We’ve already posted a summary of Danielle’s background in our announcement post last week but I think it’s best if we now hand over to Danielle to talk about herself and her work.



How did you end up in science?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be involved in science and technology. I was always asking “why” and taking things apart from a young age so it was inevitable that I would progress this into my studies and eventually a career. Even my nursery teacher said I would end up as a scientist!

Tell us about your work? 

I can split my work into 3 main areas: research, teaching and management.

Research: Most of my work revolves around Big Science and designing highly sensitive instrumentation to give astronomers and astrophysicists data from which we can answer some fundamental questions of the universe. I also use the same technology principles to help solve some of the engineering grand challenges, for example – more efficient engines in the aerospace sector and ensuring more intelligent use of precious resources such as water.

Teaching: I teach fundamental electronic engineering principles to undergraduate students and receiver systems to Master of Science students. I love the diversity of teaching and the different pedagogical approaches it needs.
Management: I am the Associate Dean of Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences (around 8000 students). My role allows me to lead and influence change and innovation in the teaching and learning arena.

Why did you choose your current field and what keeps you there?

It started as a passion for radio astronomy and astrophysics which developed into designing highly sensitive instrumentation for the next generation of astronomy. But now it has grown into other areas; taking the same technology principles and applying them to other sectors – from space to farming!

Motivation: why should the lay public be interested in your work?

Its a really good question and one which I think we need to continually ask ourselves. My work is trying to understand not only where we came from but how we can influence the future and be involved in solving some of the world’s engineering grand challenges.

Do you have any interesting external/extracurricular things you like to do?

I’m not sure this counts as extracurricular obligations but I feel obliged to drink hot chocolate on a regular basis. This may be something to do with my pregnancy though!

I really enjoy visiting primary and secondary schools to talk to children, teachers and parents about science and engineering.

Any interesting hobbies you’d like to share?

I adore reading and listening to and playing music. My book collection is quite eclectic and I normally have 2 books on-the-go, one fact and one fiction.

I’m a Newcastle United football fan so I’m not sure I can say I currently “enjoy” watching football!

How would you describe your ideal day off?

I love Sundays with my husband. Reading the newspapers over a leisurely cooked breakfast/brunch. Going for a walk in the Peak District then eating Sunday lunch cooked by my husband (I make the gravy though!).

So please welcome Danielle to @RealScientists!


Matthew (@MCeeP)

Matthew is a research fellow at Cranfield University that while trained as a biochemist has accidentally ended up working with optical sensor systems. In addition to helping out @RealScientists he also runs a blog called Errant Science and writes a monthly column for Laboratory News .

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