Hire me!

astronomy, BIS, communication, science, science communication, SGAC, space exploration, UKSEDS, UNAWE

Hello there!

For those of you who follow me on Twitter or my blog, you may already know a bit about me and my activities. I’m currently looking out for possible writing opportunities in science, physics and astronomy. If you’ve reached here and you’re someone looking for pitches, I’d be interested in the types of stories you have the most urgent need to fill!

My name is Ryan Laird, a science communicator from the UK and active #spacetweep. Since the start of January, I have been working as a Science Communication Intern at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) — the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive astronomical observatory. Based in Garching near Munich, Germany, I am working in ESO’s ePOD (education and Public Outreach Department) with a team of professional science communicators for the preparation of ESO, European Space Agency (ESA)/Hubble Space Telescope and International Astronomical Union (IAU) news and photo releases, publications, web pages, video scripts, exhibition panels and other public communication products. In addition, I have been actively supporting communication regarding the ESO Ultra HD expedition and am a ghostwriter for the UHD blog. I’ve become used to the fast pace dynamic and accuracy as required in this role.

I am a recent Graduate of the International Space University (ISU)‘s Space Studies Programme 2013 (SSP13), where I received generous support from the UK Space Agency and ESA. I am also a graduate of the University of Leicester, UK where obtained the degree of Physics with Astrophysics MPhys (Hons).

I have cherished many different opportunities to apply my skills and knowledge in a variety of areas including UKSEDS, Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), Universe Awareness (UNAWE), ESO and the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009), among industry experts, university departments and other research organisations. I have also been actively involved in research and academia, having co-authored in the journal Nature — Snodgrass, C. et al., Nature, 467, 814-816 (2010), among others, gaining experience in the planetary sciences while researching Jupiter Family Comets.

I recently helped support the UNAWE International Office in Leiden, Netherlands where my main role was to expand the concept of Space Scoop (astronomy news for kids) to a diverse range of media platforms and syndicate the content. Here I investigated the best way to improve the syndication and distribution of science content produced for and by children to mainstream children’s media. I also wrote a number of Space Scoop articles and reviews of space content for kids.

Last year I also supported SGAC at their office in Vienna, Austria at the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI). There I supported SGAC’s network of over 4000 members across more than 90 countries. In this capacity, I helped organise the Space Generation Fusion Forum, preparing and editing the SGAC Annual Report, supporting general operations, web content and administration.

I also regularly write for the British Interplanetary Society‘s magazine, Spaceflight and as Vice Chair (formerly Secretary), I prepare content for UKSEDS‘ media. In addition, I maintain my own website here at rjmlaird.co.uk where I write some of my own musings in a blog, along with some space news and is where you can find additional information about me and my work.

Together my experiences have provided a me with a great range of expertise, which I’d be keen to use in a capacity to further promote astronomy, space and physics to a much wider audience — subjects very close to my heart. To further acquaint you with the specifics of my background you can view my CV from my website here (also downloadable as a .pdf and viewable on LinkedIn), along with my activities and publications which show some of my writing samples.

Also View Ryan Laird's profile on LinkedIn is where you can see some recommendations on my work. Most recently my Head of Department  (ePOD) here at ESO, Lars Lindberg Christensen, wrote me a reference downloadable here as .pdf. I am happy to provide further references if needed.

Do please get in touch if you know of or have any opportunities available.

Last Chance to See Hadfield’s ‘Space Oddity’ Video

human spaceflight, science communication, space exploration

I’m gutted to read that former Canadian astronaut, Cmdr Chris Hadfield tweeted earlier today that his famous ‘Space Oddity’ video will be taken down later.  It seems David Bowie gave permission for the content to be online for a year, which comes to an end today.

Captured during Hadfield’s five months on board the International Space Station (ISS) during Expedition 34/35 (the latter for which he was commander), the astronaut was an inspiration to the world as the video has gathered over 22 million views on YouTube.

I’m very much enjoying reaching his book he released upon his return to Earth – “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth”. It’s a pity I got to miss his book tour in the UK last December but I am hoping to see him this weekend in Munich.

Featured image above: Canadian astronaut, Cmdr Chris Hadfield in a screen shot from his video “Space Oddity” recorded on the ISS.

Name Tim’s mission

human spaceflight, science communication, space exploration

timpeakeThe European Space Agency (ESA) are seeking entries to name British ESA Astronaut, Tim Peake’s mission.

Full details can be found on the ESA website.

Send your proposal by 10:00 GMT (11:00 BST/12:00 CEST) on 4 April 2014.

In May of last year, Tim Peake was selected to conduct a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and will fly as part of Expedition 46/47 in November 2015. He will become Britain’s first “official” astronaut.

Follow Tim on Twitter @astro_timpeake.

Deutsches Museum

astronomy, human spaceflight, science, space exploration, travel

At the weekend, I visited the Deutsches Museum (German Museum) in Munich – the world’s largest museum of science and technology. It was a good chance to meet some fellow space enthusiasts in an informal “spacetweetup” (or as it later turned out, meetup) with various friends and friends of friends who live, study or work in/around Munich.

It still amazes me how small the space community is sometimes. I’ve travelled to different cities and it is always great to meet fellow space enthusiasts, especially who are connected through the ISU or SGAC network. Nearby also is the Austrian Space Forum (OeWF) which is based in Innsbruck, who have an agreement with SGAC. It was good to connect with some more of their members too. We always seem to have people in common.

Working in the Education and Public Outreach Department (ePOD) at ESO, we produce a lot of materials for the public, including a lot of posters, flyers and booklets. I was pleased I was able to take some along to share with space enthusiasts.

Fellow space enthusiast and ISU alumna, Nikita, my work colleague at ESO. ON our way to the Deutsches Museum.

IMG_1599

V2 rocket on display at the Deutsches Museum.

A large display of various rockets to scale at the Deutsches Museum.

A large display of various rockets to scale at the Deutsches Museum.

Some good bedtime reading

books, communication, human spaceflight, reading, science, science communication, space exploration

Some good bedtime reading. Chris Hadfield’s book & A Hands-On Guide to Science Communication.

Many thanks to my very good friend, Paul Money for Chris Hadfield’s book. It’s a pity I didn’t catch him in the UK for signing, but I know this will make a very good read.

Through my work here at ESO, I was allowed to have a copy of “A Hands-On Guide to Science Communication” by my boss, Lars Lindberg Christensen who is the Head of the Education and Public Outreach Department (ePOD). I am looking forward to gaining some new experience here at ESO in science communication.