BBC astronaut series winner inspires future space scientists in Southampton lecture
Space scientist Dr Suzie Imber encouraged young people to “look to the stars” in a guest lecture sharing her story from BBC’s ‘Astronauts: Do you have what it takes?’ series.
The reality show winner outlined her tips for future astronauts and detailed ongoing plans for space exploration at a packed event on Monday hosted by Physics and Astronomy at the University of Southampton and the Women’s Physics Network.
Suzie was selected as the strongest space candidate by former Commander of the International Space Station Chris Hadfield in the BBC Two series this summer.
Addressing a 300-strong audience at the Physics and Astronomy lecture theatre, Suzie said, “For anyone who wants to become an astronaut I would say you need to study hard but also build extra skills as well. I want to encourage as many people as I can to look to the stars so take every opportunity that comes your way and see what happens. Join the orchestra, play your favourite sport, do whatever you love, because those broader skills will make you a more rounded person.”
Suzie shared how her passion for mountaineering and rowing had contributed to her strong performance in the recent TV series, which pitted aspiring astronauts against dozens of gruelling physical and mental tests before one-by-one ejecting the weakest performers.
“It was bit like Bake Off but more serious,” she joked. “You never really knew how well you were doing. The bar kept going higher and you had to keep clearing the hurdles. We had a brilliant time and built some really strong friendships.”
Suzie’s favourite challenge in the programme was a large centrifuge that spun the contestants to create high g-forces, an experience she found was “like an elephant sitting on your chest”.
Monday’s event also included stalls from related activities at Southampton, including the Spaceflight Society, Southampton University Mountaineering Club (SUMC), Physoc and the Women in Science Engineering and Technology (WiSET) group. There was also a live display of Southampton Planeterrella, an artificial demonstration of the Northern Lights.
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