Since their inception in 1825, the Christmas Lectures have been presented by the Royal Institution of Great Britain in an effort to introduce a young audience to subjects through spectacular demonstrations. The lectures have been held almost every year with the exception of four years during World War II and are now broadcast on television, making them a Christmas tradition in many British homes.
In the 189 years of this lecture series only a handful of women have been asked to present, with the sixth of these being Dr. Danielle George whose lecture on how to hack your home was given in 2014. Her lecture included a conversation with astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti on the International Space Station and turning the theatre into a giant game of Tetris. For another part of her lecture she created a robot orchestra that was then expanded into a crowd-sourced orchestra of around 50 robots built out of recycled electronics that went on tour to promote engineering to all ages.
For her efforts in exposing more people to the seemingly limitless possibilities in her field, she was the recipient of the 2016 Royal Academy of Engineering Rooke Award for public promotion of engineering.
When not touring with a robot orchestra, Dr. George is a Professor of Radio Frequency Engineering at the University of Manchester where her research and development work focuses on low noise receivers. Some of her efforts are a continuation of her early work in radio astronomy where she has contributed to the design and development of some of the most sensitive ground and space based instruments ever produced. Her research includes the use of focal plane arrays which demand levels of electronic integration that have yet to be used in these types of applications including the development of new low noise devices.
Enjoying the breadth and nature of her research collaborations, she serves as the UK lead for amplifiers in the Square Kilometer Array, the Atacama Large Millimeter Array telescope, and has worked with both NASA and the European Space Agency on the development of instrumentation for exploration of the Big Bang.
Written by Angela Goad