Dr Simon Foster

RoleOutreach officer and teacher, Department of Physics, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Imperial College London

Subject area: Space Science

Nationality: British

I was born in Edmonton, North London, and for as long as I can remember I have loved space and rockets. I always hoped that I would be able to work in something related to space. At school I was drawn towards science, but I was also interested in history, geography and languages, which are incredibly useful for any career, but especially in science where international collaboration is vital. As no one in my family had ever been to university, I didn’t really have any idea as to what to do when I finished school. Luckily my Physics teacher had seen that I had a passion for space science and suggested I applied to study Physics and Space Science at university, which led me to where I am today!


EducationGCSE (or equivalent): Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Maths, English Literature, English Language, French, German, History, Geography

A-Level (or equivalent): A-Level: Physics, Maths, Chemistry; AS-level: French, Politics

• MPhys in Physics with Space Science, University of Southampton
• PhD in solar-terrestrial physics, University of Southampton

Detail about Simon


My research

My area of research centred upon how variations in the Sun’s energy output, caused by features such as sunspots, can impact the Earth’s climate. This involves lots of research into historic data sets, sometimes going back thousands of years.

My inspiration

My inspiration

Helen Sharman’s visit to the Mir Space Station made a huge impression on me as a child.

Stem hero

My STEM hero

Helen Sharman becoming Britain’s first astronaut made a huge impression on me and cemented my passion for space. I always dreamed I would follow in her footsteps and become an astronaut. Sadly that never happened – but I do now get to work with Helen, which is amazing!

Antibiotic tablets

Most significant scientific discovery?

Antibiotics and the discovery of the structure of the atom. Both completely changed life on Earth.

An aeroplane

Career options after study

  • Aerospace industry
  • Teaching
  • Finance
  • Environmental consultancy
Tai chi

My hobbies

I boxed as a kid, and at university I started training in kung fu, getting to second back sash. I now train in tai chi chuan.

Simon talks about how to be a rocket scientist

Simon's lecture

Simon shows you how to be a rocket scientist, explaining the science and engineering that enable us to leave the Earth.

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