Who am I?
I’m Colin Johnston, Armagh Planetarium’s Science Education Director.
How did I get here?
“According to their biographies, Destiny’s favoured children usually had their lives planned out from scratch. Napoleon was figuring out how to rule France when he was a barefoot boy in Corsica, Alexander the Great much the same, and Einstein was muttering equations in his cradle.
Maybe so. Me, I just muddled along.”
Robert A. Heinlein, Time For the Stars
I have had a lifelong love for space and astronomy (probably from childhood exposure to Thunderbirds, Dr Who and Star Trek). As you can see from the picture, every summer holiday in the ‘70s I twisted my parents’ arms until they took me for the annual trip to Armagh Planetarium. After studying physics at QUB, I worked in the aerospace industry for many years. In 2006 I changed career and became a full-time science educator. As this gives the chance to talk and promote the subjects I am passionate about, this was one of the best decisions I have ever made!
What do I do at Armagh Planetarium?
Since 2006, I have edited Astronotes (firstly as a printed journal, then as a blog) which gives me the opportunity to write about astronomy, space exploration and related fields. I advise on the science content for the Planetarium’s Digital Theatre shows and respond to astronomical queries from the public, I present public talks and teach courses at QUB. I help with queries from the media when there is something dramatic happening in the sky and have made many TV and radio appearances. You can see some of my newspaper articles on the Planetarium’s Free Stuff page and see my appearance on Ulster Television’s 730 Show on our You Tube Channel. There is a profile of me at the I’m a Scientist Get Me Out Of Here! site.
If you want to get in touch with me you can contact me at the Planetarium.