Back in 2014 I graduated with a Masters Degree in Astrophysics, and in April this year I joined the team here at Indigo.
When people ask me what I studied at university, I’m often met with faint confusion when I tell them I did Astrophysics: most people have heard of it, but few know what it actually is.
Long story short, over the six years of my studies, we covered just about everything there is to do with the study of space. From how to use a telescope to see the furthest galaxies, to Theoretical Astrophysics and studying the very nature of how our universe exists, we covered some pretty amazing topics – with some pretty amazing mathematics to go with it!
The next question I usually get asked is “well, that’s all exciting and all, but how are your studies helpful outside of academia?” It’s a good question, and the answer is straightforward: very.
Astrophysics has brought us some wonderful human advancements over the years, such as microwave ovens and GPS devices, but practitioners always rely on the public’s support to make it all happen.
From day one we’re taught the absolute importance of being able to explain and communicate our studies, not just to the scientific community, but to a wider audience as well. Interacting with the public is fundamental to what we do, whether because we’re presenting our research to financial sponsors, hosting public lectures or seeking to inspire the next generation of budding scientists.
Without understanding and support from the wider community, our work just wouldn’t be possible. So learning how to explain inherently complex topics that many non-practitioners will never have countenanced, is considered fundamental just as fundamental as algebra.
To make the present happen, to make the future happen, and to keep interest alive: interacting with the diverse audiences is an integral part of life in science.
Similarly, at Indigo, we have a very diverse set of clients, each of whom have messages to share in their own way. From the simplest to the most complex themes and campaigns, our job is to ensure that their ideas are presented understandably and accessibly, so that their work has the widest possible impact.
Just as organisations like NASA and ESA are taking to social media to convey their interests, we support our clients on social media to show off their work in the best possible way – as task, I feel, that’s thankfully not lightyears away from where I left off my Astrophysics career.
Erith McKean is a Social Media Executive at Indigo