At the age of eight, I joined my local astronomical society in the UK - WYAS. Every week, I sat entranced at talks from society members and professional astronomers, all about the wonders of the cosmos, and it wasn't long before I first took the stage, giving my own talks on the various parts of astronomy that fascinated me most.
By the age of ten, I was giving regular talks at WYAS - often putting together impromptu slide shows for visitors on observing nights that turned out to be cloudy (a common occurrence in the soggy foggy north of England).
I continued to give talks at WYAS through my undergraduate and doctoral studies, but also began to visit other astronomy societies to give talks as a 'Guest Speaker', a role I have continued to expand in the two decades since.
Over the years, I have developed several talks designed for interested community groups - from astronomical societies to schools, naturalist groups to holiday resorts. I take immense pleasure in sharing my love of astronomy with others - and I know first hand how important such talks can be. After all - I would certainly not be where I am today, were it not for the help and advice of those astronomers who were willing to share their expertise with me, as a youngster, sat entranced in their talks on a cloudy Tuesday night in Pontefract!
In a typical year, I will usually give something like thirty public talks to groups here in southeast Queensland. In recent years, I have developed a wonderful relationship with the Lady Elliot Island eco-resort - returning several times a year to give talks and lead night sky viewing sessions.
As a matter of principal, I do not charge a speaker fee for school groups, community groups, and astronomical societies - though I always appreciate help with my expenses in getting to and from the venue!
For commercial events (where a significant fee is charged to attendees), I feel it only appropriate to be paid for keynote talks. If you would like me to speak at such an event, I would be more than happy to discuss the particulars over e-mail!
I have a wide variety of talks prepared that can be given at relatively short notice. I am also happy to put together new talks, particularly as our knowledge of cosmos increases over time - so if you would like me to give a talk on a given subject, please feel free to contact me, using the form below.
All ready to present 'Rocks From Space!' at USQ's annual Festival of Astronomy and Space, in July 2016. In addition to organising the festival every year, and acting as MC for the events, I have also taken the stage as a presenter, to introduce the Toowoomba public to the threat posed to the Earth by asteroids and comets. Image credit: D. Martinelli/USQ
The most magical place on the planet - Lady Elliot Island. I have the great fortune to be an invited speaker at this magic island, typically visiting five or six times per year to give talks, lead night-time viewing sessions, and help the fantastic Activities Team refresh their night sky knowledge.
In June 2021, I gave a talk as a keynote speaker to the 'It Takes a Spark' education conference, held annually here in Toowoomba. This YouTube video was an eleven-minute sparkler, circulated to the high-school students and staff who planned to attend the conference, to serve as an introduction to my work, and to tell the story of how astronomy works!