Would-be astronaut and BBC star touches down at Truro High School
Nearly 500 children from schools across Cornwall got the chance to meet Dr Imber as she led hands-on workshops and lectures on space science throughout the day.
As well as introducing pupils to the fascinating world of astrophysics, the scientist spoke about the journey that led her to win the BBC’s search to find the best candidate to send to outer space.
Dr Imber, who is an associate professor in space physics at Leicester University, triumphed over 11 other contestants to win the BBC’s ‘Astronauts: Do you have what it takes?’ programme.
She was put through a series of gruelling tests by former astronaut Chris Hadfield, who was so impressed by her performance that he has formally recommended her to join the European Space Agency.
Stage two of the space mission took pupils into the school’s laboratories to undergo a series of challenges to see if they too have what it takes to blast off on a journey away from Earth.
Dr Imber said: “The day went really well. There was so much enthusiasm and lots of good questions – that’s really the first step for these potential astronauts!”
In the evening, staff, governors, parents and friends also had the opportunity to meet Dr Imber at a special lecture where she discussed her giant leap towards becoming an astronaut.
Hoping to inspire the public to match her success, Dr Imber is touring the UK to talk about her experiences and to promote space exploration. Truro High was the only school in the county to host the would-be astronaut on her visit to Cornwall, which will also see her heading to Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station.
Dr Imber said: “Women are underrepresented in the industry generally and, whilst it’s a difficult question to solve, I think the first step is for girls to see someone who’s a scientist and a woman – a role model who you really believe you could be in 10 years’ time. Hopefully I’m achieving that just by standing in front of them.”
The visit rounds off a fantastic start to the New Year at the all-girls independent school which this week outperformed all schools and colleges countywide to be named Cornwall’s top school for value-added at A Level by government league tables.