Social media presence

Like many scientists, my activity on social media is a kind of mixture of public outreach and professional gossip. These days, my main social media outlet is on Blue Sky as  e-astronomer.bsky.social. Pre-Musk, I was on Twitter as the e_astronomer and for a while masquerading as  Charles Piazzi Smyth come back to life for his bi-centennial. The “e-astronomer” was also the name of my old WordPress blog, which went through a wave of fashion and then decayed about 2014. It still has some writing I am quite proud of!

Talks, workshops and software

I have a slowly evolving set of popular talks. If you are interested in a talk to your society, school etc, do email me. You can find my email address at the ROE web site. Together with Alastair Bruce, I have also developed virtual reality planetarium software and experiment workshops for primary school children. You can also read about those on the popular talks page.

Charles Piazzi Smyth

Charles Piazzi Smyth was the fascinating and controversial second Astronomer Royal for Scotland – he invented mountain top astronomy, started the One O’Clock Gun, was a prolific artist, photographer and writer, and had controversial theories about the Pyramids. I was involved in a film about him in 2016 (see below). For his 200th birthday in 2019, I led a series of commemorative events – an exhibition at Edinburgh’s Nelson monument, a Symposium, a series of talks, and a Twitter account. During 2019 the Nelson Monument exhibition had over 60,000 visitors, but since February 2020 has been locked from sight due to the COVID pandemic!

You can read all about CPS, his talented wife Jessica, and the exhibition and events, at the Piazzi Smyth website. There is also a short booklet about Piazzi Smyth – see the books page. Here is the ten minute video that runs within the Exhibition, put together by the wonderful folk at Written in Film.

Art, Science, and History

I am keen on collaboration between scientists and artists and have been involved in a number of projects – working with artists, musicians, and film makers. You can read about these projects on this Art, Science and History page. I am also growing increasingly interested in the history of astronomy. At the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, we have a rich and unique set of historical archives, which I would like to do more to explore, exploit and conserve. You can also read about these historical projects at the Art, Science and History page.

ROE Trust

I am also the Chair of the Royal Observatory (Edinburgh) Trust, a registered charity whose purposes are to protect, preserve and showcase the historical heritage connected with the ROE, and  to promote and encourage public interest in Astronomy. If you wish to support the work of the Trust, follow the “Support Us” link.