Young scientists – meet your representative!

Hello, my name is Sam Illingworth and as well as being a postdoctoral research assistant at the University of Manchester, I will be taking over from Jennifer Holden as the Young Scientist representative for the EGU’s Programme Committee, which coordinates the annual General Assembly.

I studied for my PhD at the University of Leicester between 2007 and 2010, investigating the capability of the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI), on board the MetOp-A satellite, for making measurements of carbon monoxide from space. During my time at Leicester I was fortunate enough to be involved in outreach work with a number of different primary and secondary schools, and also to have a supervisor who encouraged me to channel my love of acting into these outreach activities.

On the back of these successful ventures into theatrical scientific expression, I spent the next two years living and working in Japan, on a scholarship awarded to me by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese foundation. During this time I was able to further develop my methodology of using theatrical technique to improve effective scientific communication. I went on to develop and lecture a course at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, which used these methods to improve the communicative skills of young researchers.

Sam Illingworth – the new young scientist representative on the Programme Committee!

Sam Illingworth – the new young scientist representative on the Programme Committee. (Credit: Sam Illingworth)

My time in Japan lead to a similar posting at Tsinghua University in Beijing, before I headed back to the UK, where I began my current position at the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences in 2012. Since then I have been busy developing a technique for making remote sensing measurements of greenhouse gases from an airborne device, which has essentially involved porting the work that I did for the IASI instrument down to a similar piece of kit on board the UK’s Atmospheric Research Aircraft. A lot of my work is centred on trying to better understand the significance of wetlands as a source of methane, and I have been lucky enough to travel up to the Arctic Circle in order to do this!

As well as my scientific research I am also involved with a lot of outreach work at the University, including helping to co-host the Barometer, a fun and informative podcast about atmospheric science. I was also asked to develop a communications lecture course for the University, which I have started teaching this term, together with numerous other workshops and seminars that I give to students and young researchers on behalf of the University’s careers centre and Learning Commons.

I am extremely excited to be beginning my new role as the young scientist representative for EGU, and I hope that I can build on the excellent work that Jennifer has already done in developing an articulate and personable voice for this important group of researchers. I would like to begin by saying that I intend on operating a (virtual) door-open policy, and that if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions then I would love to hear them.

I look forward to meeting you all over the course of the next year, whether that be via email (, Twitter (@samillingworth),  or even better in person in Vienna at EGU 2014.


  1. It’s great having you on board, Sam! I look forward to checking out the young scientists sessions and events you, others in the Programme Committee and Sara manage to put together at the EGU 2014 General Assembly.

    • Thanks Bárbara,

      I’m very excited to be involved with EGU in this capacity, and genuinely cannot wait for what is going to be an excellent EGU 2014!

      It would be really fabulous if any young scientists out there who wanted to represent their divisions could get in touch!


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