Profile: Heather Couper & Nigel Henbest

Dr Heather Couper CBE and Nigel Henbest are both international broadcasters and writers on astronomy, space and science, and will be the speakers of our next Penny Lecture, Cosmic Quest: From Babylon to the Big Bang on Wednesday 28 January.

Heather studied astrophysics at both Leicester and Oxford universities, and ran the Greenwich Planetarium for five years.  She now works entirely in the media.

Nigel Henbest is an acclaimed science populariser, and his books and articles have been published around the world, and his TV productions have gained awards in Britain and in the US. Nigel will also be a future astronaut with Virgin Galactic.

Heather has hosted two Channel 4 series on British television, several TV programmes, and many radio shows – including the long-running Seeing Starson BBC World Service. In 2008, she wrote and presented BBC Radio 4′s epic 30-part series Cosmic Quest, a ground-breaking overview of the history of astronomy.

Heather has written over 30 books, including the critically-acclaimed Universe,and with Nigel they have written Mars: The Inside Story of the Red Planet; andThe History of Astronomy. Their latest books are Philip’s Stargazing 2014 andThe Story of Astronomy.

In 1988 Heather and Nigel co-founded Pioneer Productions, which is now one of the UK’s top independent TV production companies. Many of Pioneer’s programmes have won international awards, including Electric Skies (Banff Rockie Award for top science documentary) and Black Holes (Gold Award, New York Film and TV Festival).

Nigel’s screen credits include BBC Television, Channel 4 (UK), Discovery Channel and ABC (Australia). Heather has presented TV programmes ranging from a celebration of Stephen Hawking on his 60th birthday (BBC) to a documentary on the Colombia Space Shuttle disaster (Channel 4).

In addition both are freelance writers. Heather is the astronomy columnist forBBC Focus magazine and Nigel has been the astronomy consultant to New Scientist magazine and editor of the Journal of the British Astronomical Association, and both write for The Independent.

Both Heather and Nigel were honoured by the International Astronomical Union with asteroids named after them. Asteroid number 3922 is named “Heather” and asteroid 3795 is “Nigel”. Heather was awarded the CBE for Serves to Science in 2007.

Dr Heather Couper CBE and Nigel Henbest are both international broadcasters and writers on astronomy, space and science, and will be the speakers for our next Penny Lecture.

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