Hello, my name is Sam Illingworth and as well as being a postdoctoral research assistant at the University of Manchester, I will be taking over from Jennifer Holden as the Young Scientist representative for the EGU’s Programme Committee, which coordinates the annual General Assembly.
I studied for my PhD at the University of Leicester between 2007 and 2010, investigating the capability of the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI), on board the MetOp-A satellite, for making measurements of carbon monoxide from space. During my time at Leicester I was fortunate enough to be involved in outreach work with a number of different primary and secondary schools, and also to have a supervisor who encouraged me to channel my love of acting into these outreach activities.
On the back of these successful ventures into theatrical scientific expression, I spent the next two years living and working in Japan, on a scholarship awarded to me by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese foundation. During this time I was able to further develop my methodology of using theatrical technique to improve effective scientific communication. I went on to develop and lecture a course at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, which used these methods to improve the communicative skills of young researchers.
My time in Japan lead to a similar posting at Tsinghua University in Beijing, before I headed back to the UK, where I began my current position at the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences in 2012. Since then I have been busy developing a technique for making remote sensing measurements of greenhouse gases from an airborne device, which has essentially involved porting the work that I did for the IASI instrument down to a similar piece of kit on board the UK’s Atmospheric Research Aircraft. A lot of my work is centred on trying to better understand the significance of wetlands as a source of methane, and I have been lucky enough to travel up to the Arctic Circle in order to do this!
As well as my scientific research I am also involved with a lot of outreach work at the University, including helping to co-host the Barometer, a fun and informative podcast about atmospheric science. I was also asked to develop a communications lecture course for the University, which I have started teaching this term, together with numerous other workshops and seminars that I give to students and young researchers on behalf of the University’s careers centre and Learning Commons.
I am extremely excited to be beginning my new role as the young scientist representative for EGU, and I hope that I can build on the excellent work that Jennifer has already done in developing an articulate and personable voice for this important group of researchers. I would like to begin by saying that I intend on operating a (virtual) door-open policy, and that if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions then I would love to hear them.
I look forward to meeting you all over the course of the next year, whether that be via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), Twitter (@samillingworth), or even better in person in Vienna at EGU 2014.