I’m Dr Jen Gupta, an astrophysicist who loves to talk about how awesome space is with anyone who will listen! I’m based in the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation at the University of Portsmouth where I am the SEPnet/Ogden Physics Outreach and Public Engagement Manager. I’m one of the presenters of Stranger Than Sci-Fi on BBC Radio 4. I’m also one of the creators and hosts of the Seldom Sirius astronomy podcast. I have been known to perform comedy sets where I use astronomy to make people laugh. I was one of the hosts of the BBC Tomorrow’s World Live series, which went out on facebook and youtube in 2017. In my spare time I used to help organise the Winchester Science Festival. I also used to occasionally work at the Winchester Science Centre as a Planetarium Presenter.
I did my PhD at the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics at the University of Manchester under the supervision of Professor Ian Browne. My research looked at active galactic nuclei (AGN) – galaxies that are emitting far more energy from their centres than can be accounted for by their stars. In particular I focused on a subset of AGN called blazars.
Over the last ten years I have interviewed British astronaut Tim Peake live on stage, performed astronomy-themed stand-up in front of 500 people, travelled to India to observe the skies with the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope, appeared on national TV and radio to talk about astronomy and science, driven around the eMerlin network of radio telescopes in a day, and delivered talks and workshops to thousands of school children.
I am British Indian and grew up in Winchester, attending Kings Worthy Primary School, St Anne’s Convent School and Peters Symonds Sixth Form College. In 2004 I moved to Manchester to study Physics with Astrophysics at the University of Manchester. In 2007 I spent the summer working at the Jodrell Bank Observatory as a research student and in 2008 I graduated with a first class MPhys (hons) degree. I started my PhD in the same year and was awarded my doctorate in 2012. I began working at the ICG a week before my viva and have been there ever since!
In 2015 I was Highly Commended in the Young Achievers category at the Asian Women of Achievement Awards.
I’m the younger sister of Dr Kat Gupta who does clever things with text and computers that I don’t understand.