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OU on the BBC: Stardate - Meet the presenters

Updated Thursday, 6th April 2006

You couldn't be in better hands for a trip into space - meet the presenters.

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Meet our Stardate presenters:

Adam Hart-Davis
Adam Hart-Davis A familiar face from Open University programmes, Adam Hart-Davis is a freelance photographer, writer, and broadcaster. On television, he's presented Tomorrow’s World, What the Romans, Victorians, Tudors & Stuarts, Greeks, Egyptians, and others Did For Us, Science Shack, Local Heroes, Stardate, and How London was Built. For Radio 4 he has made Inventors Imperfect, Inspiration! , Engineering Solutions, and Eureka Years. He has won various awards for both television and radio.

Before presenting, Adam spent five years in publishing and 17 years at Yorkshire Television, as researcher and then producer of such series as Scientific Eye and Arthur C Clarke’s World of Strange Powers.

He has read several books, and written about 24, including World’s weirdest ‘true’ ghost stories, Thunder, flush, & Thomas Crapper (an encyc-loo-pedia) , Amazing math puzzles, and companions to series such as What the Victorians did for us. His latest book is Why does a ball bounce? For the Oxford Companion to the Body he wrote the articles burp, defecate, and farting. He has written numerous newspaper and magazine articles, and a regular column in Radio Times.

A Companion of the Institution of Lighting Engineers, an Honorary Member of the British Toilet Association, an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Dyers and Colourists, and patron of a dozen charitable organizations, Adam has collected twelve honorary doctorates, a medal from the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Sir Henry Royce Memorial Medal from the Institute of Incorporated Engineers, and the 1999 Gerald Frewer memorial trophy of the Council of Engineering Designers. He has no car, but six cycles - one for every occasion.

Dr Janet Sumner
Janet Sumner Janet Sumner is a Research Fellow and associate lecturer at the Open University in Milton Keynes and broadcast project leader for BBC-Open University science programming. Janet is new to Stardate but has previously presented with Adam on Science Shack and has most recently been on our screens in the ten-part series Hands on Nature.

After gaining a first class honours degree in geology from the University of Sheffield, she went on to do a PhD in Volcanology at Kiel University in Germany. She has since travelled the world researching volcanoes and publishing her work in international journals.

Janet’s research focuses on volcanic processes on Earth and other terrestrial planets and she is usually to be found scrambling about on, or inside, active volcanoes, or even fire walking on the lava flows of Hawaii. But, her work also encompasses laboratory experiments and computational fluid dynamics, which is not as dull as it sounds given that she works with buckets of golden syrup, candle wax and even cream eggs!

Her taste for adventure is not restricted to her work, she has tried most extreme sports from skydiving and paragliding to potholing and scuba diving, but has settled on free climbing as it’s useful for getting in and out of volcanoes.

Between 1997-2000 Janet took a career break, trained as a camera operator and worked freelance for many German TV companies, culminating in the Starship Millennium Project the world's first ever fully-interactive round the world voyage – this involved close encounters with killer whales and great white sharks.

She resumed her research in 2001, and in 2005 was selected as one of "Britain’s Top Younger Scientists, Engineers and Technologists". Janet is passionate about communicating hands-on, fun science to the public and is a regular invited speaker at the European Broadcast Union. Later this year she will open the Norwegian Science and Media Festival.

She is no stranger to our screens having appeared in What the Industrial Revolution Did For Us, British Isles - a Natural History, British Isles - a Users' Guide and Countryfile. She is currently filming a 40-part nature series for the BBC.

 

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