Name: Dr Francis Sedgemore
I am a journalist, writer, editor and communications consultant with a background in atmospheric and space physics research, space mission engineering, science education and public outreach.
Freelance journalist, science writer, editor and consultant
Since May 2003 I have been working as a freelance journalist, writer, editor and communications consultant specialising in science and technology, science public outreach, education and policy. During this time I have provided writing and editing services to specialist science publishers, national and local news media, government and third sector organisations.
Graphene Flagship, Cambridge, 2014-2015
From September 2014 to November 2015, I was occupied largely as the science writer for the Graphene Flagship, an international consortium of academic and industrial partners, funded in part by the European Commission, which focuses on the research and development of graphene and related two-dimensional materials.
In addition to my role with the Graphene Flagship, I continued to work as a freelance journalist.
Danish National Space Centre, Copenhagen, 2000–2003
In Copenhagen my principal role was to lead Denmark’s science contribution to the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Cluster mission to Earth’s magnetosphere. I was a Co-Investigator for two of the Cluster science instruments: the FluxGate Magnetometer (FGM) and WHISPER plasma sounder.
I carried out research into space and upper atmosphere physics, wrote and contributed to a number of peer-reviewed scientific papers, engaged in public outreach activities, including popular science educational website development, assisted in PhD student supervision, contributed to research funding applications, and represented Denmark in the Cluster and Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR) and LOFAR-LOIS science communities.
Spacecraft Flight Dynamics Engineer
European Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, 2000
I completed a suite of ISO9001-compliant flight dynamics programs for interplanetary missions, refined celestial mechanics calculations, and adapted Earth satellite ground station and tracking routines for interplanetary missions.
University of Southampton, 1997–2000
In Southampton I carried out research into the physics of the aurora and ionospheric climatology, and developed a mathematical model describing ionospheric chemistry and energetics changes in response to dynamic and energetic auroral electron precipitation.
Through radar, optics and satellite observations, together with mathematical modelling, I studied auroral structure and dynamics, and micro-instabilities in space plasmas. Other responsibilities included science public outreach, undergraduate tutorial group leadership, research project and laboratory supervision, communication skills development, PhD student supervision, contribution to research funding applications, and faculty board membership.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Under the supervision of the late, great radio astronomy pioneer Phil Williams, I designed space and atmospheric radar experiments, and developed data reduction, analysis and interpretation techniques for the study of plasma dynamics in the high-latitude ionosphere. Fieldwork was carried out in northern Scandinavia. Part of my time was devoted to undergraduate teaching, including tutorial group leadership and laboratory supervision, and I served on the Executive Committee of the Mature Students’ Union.
Bachelor of Science (BSc Hons)
“Physics with Planetary and Space Physics”, Prifysgol Cymru (University of Wales), 1993.
Alongside a standard physics curriculum, I completed in the second and third years courses in astronomy, planetary, space and atmospheric physics. My degree thesis was based on a study of atmospheric gravity waves in the sub-auroral zone. Throughout my time as an undergraduate student in Aberystwyth, I served on the Staff-Student Liaison Committee of the Physics Department and the Executive Committee of the Mature Students’ Union.
Communication and teaching
Journalistic writing and editing; undergraduate physics teaching and pre-university tuition; communications skills seminars and research project supervision; assistance in PhD supervision; laboratory demonstrating; research peer review; space science and technology public outreach; student pastoral support and staff-student liaison
Space and atmospheric radar systems; atmospheric optics; magnetometry; plasma wave and particle detection; signal processing; geophysical time-series and spectral analysis; inverse problem solving and Bayesian statistics; radiative transfer; auroral chemistry and energetics; interplanetary spacecraft orbital analysis and celestial mechanics
Project support and management
ESA mission Co-Investigator; lead scientist in Denmark for the Cluster mission; member of the Low Frequency Array/LOIS Science Consortium; research funding proposal writer; radar campaign manager; university faculty board member
Computer programming and applications
English; Welsh; Danish; German; Norwegian; Swedish; Irish; French (in decreasing order of fluency)