My YouTube Channel: Dr Becky

As your friendly neighborhood astrophysicist, I get overly enthusiastic about space on YouTube. I post a video once a week on my channel, "Dr Becky: from a recap of monthly space news, to weird objects in space, unsolved mysteries or the science history behind an idea or theory. I like to focus on how we know things, not just what we know. The channel has over 100,000 subscribers (and counting!), so come and join us all in the conversation.

Subscribe so you never miss a video!

Space: 10 Things
You Should Know

The secrets of 14 billion years for people short on time

This book is for anyone who wants to easily understand the mind-blowing fundamentals of our extraordinary, expanding universe.

Written by Oxford astrophysicist Dr Becky Smethurst and composed of ten captivating, simple essays, it guides you swiftly through the galaxies, explaining the mysteries of black holes, dark matter and what existed before the Big Bang, presenting the evidence as to whether we really are alone, illuminating what we still don't know, and much more besides.

If you have big questions about Space, this book will provide you with the answers in an engaging and succinct way.

Hardcover, kindle and audio editions available all available on amazon and in all major bookstores. If you would like to support your local bookstore you may need to request that they order the book specially.

Note that in the USA & Canada, my book has a different title: "Space at the Speed of Light". You can find out more information on where to buy the book here.

TV & Radio

Talking about the first ever image of a black hole on Channel 4 News. 10th April 2020.



I am an enthusiastic science communicator and have been involved with many media projects. From explaining science on TV and the radio, to performing on stage, recording podcasts, and advising on projects behind the scenes. I try to let my passion for science shine through in all of these things. Check out my YouTube channel to see the astronomy and science interest videos I've made. I'm happy to discuss any astronomy, astrophysics, night sky or space exploration related news story. I also enjoy advising as an expert for scripts and books. Please get in touch with the button below if you're interested in working with me. Below is a list of some of the media outlets and projects I've been involved with:

Channel 4 News
BBC News 24 Channel
BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat
BBC Radio 5 Live
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio Oxford
BBC Radio Wales
BBC Stargazing Live
ABC Stargazing Live
FameLab UK
Bright Club
Cheltenham Science Festival
Winchester Science Festival
The Oxford Student Newspaper
Astrobites

Public Talks

I have given many public talks to a diverse range of audiences; from school groups, to astronomy societies, to festival go-ers. I also lecture on board Cunard's cruise ship fleet in conjunction with the Royal Astronomical Society.

I was recently awarded the Caroline Herschel Prize Lectureship for 2020.

If you'd like me to give a public lecture please get in touch using the button below.

Frequently Asked Questions

I get a lot of emails from subscribers with questions about the universe and becoming an astrophysicist. Before you send an email check and see if your question is answered here first. Also, if I don't respond to your email I'm very sorry - I get alot, and I don't always have the time around doing my research to answer them all.



I want to become an astrophysicist, can you give me some advice?
That's great to hear that you're as passionate about space as I am! I made a video on how I became an astrophysicist - focussing on the path from school to my current research job. Dr Katie Mack also has a fantastic page with advice for aspiring astrophysicists. Essentially you should focussing on learning maths and physics at school. Outside of school you should learn to code, for example my favourite programming language is Python. There are many free courses online to learn which are also good fun. If you can, try to get involved with some research, so look if a university near you offers work experience or summer student placements. Good luck!


I'm a [data scientist/engineer/accountant/doing a different major at college], can I still become an astrophysicist?
It depends what qualifications you have. To become an astrophysicist you need to do a PhD at university - this is the university degree where you do a few years of research to become an expert in the subject. The entry requirements for a PhD change from university to university, but generally you need a Master's degree in either Physics, Engineering or Mathematics (but check the web pages of those universities you're interested in doing a PhD at). If you don't have one of those you'll need to go back to do another undergraduate degree. That might not be possible for you since you're working but check out the distance learning online degrees offered by the Open University.


I have a theory about the Universe, will you read it?
No. Sorry. First of all, I'm a working researcher and keeping up with results in my own specific field takes a lot of time. Second, I'm probably not an expert in the area that you have this theory in, so I'm not the best person to read it. There's a lot that goes into becoming a professional researcher, and a lot of that is the sort of training that can tell you if an idea you have is worth pursuing or not. Especially since the majority of new theories are formed from studying the mathematics that underpins the workings of our Universe. So if you have are very passionate about physics, I can only recommend studying it at university (see above).
Now, unlikely as it is that someone outside academia, who hasn't dedicated years of their life to studying phsyics, will come up with a major breakthrough that will revolutionise the whole of physics; if you still think that you have an idea worth shouting about then you need to submit a write up of your work to a physics journal. That's how we communicate our results to the world.


Will you answer some questions for me for a project at school?
In theory, yes I will. However, there are a lot of you who email with this request, and I just don't have time for everybody. So please know, that if you email and you don't get a response: it's not you, it's me!


Will you take part in my podcast / appear on my show / present at my event / talk at my school?
Sure! Check out my media page for more information and feel free to get in touch using the contact button below to send me the details. If I'm available I'll do all I can to help out but it all comes down to time. Balancing full time research, with YouTube, science communication and home life is always a juggling act!


If I've still not answered your question, then you can get in touch using the button below.

About

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