Dr Francis Sedgemore
physicist | science journalist | writer | editor

CV – Dr Francis Sedgemore


I am a journalist, writer, editor and communications consultant with a background in atmospheric and space physics research, space mission engineering, science education and public outreach.


  • Freelance journalist, science writer, editor and consultant, Royston, 2003 – present.

Since May 2003 I have been working as a freelance journalist, writer, editor and communications consultant specialising in science and technology, science public outreach, education and policy. During this time I have provided writing and editing services to specialist science publishers, national and local news media, government and third sector organisations.

  • Science writer, Graphene Flagship, Cambridge, 2014–2016.

From September 2014 to the end of 2015 I was occupied largely as the science writer for the Graphene Flagship, an international consortium of academic and industrial partners, funded in part by the European Commission, tasked with the research and development of graphene and other two-dimensional materials.

In addition to my role with the Graphene Flagship, I continued to work as a freelance journalist.

  • Research Scientist, Danish National Space Centre (Now DTU Space), Copenhagen, 2000–2003.

In Copenhagen my principal role was to lead Denmark's science contribution to the European Space Agency's Cluster mission to Earth's magnetosphere. I was a Co-Investigator for two of the Cluster science instruments: the FluxGate Magnetometer and WHISPER plasma sounder.

I carried out research into space and upper atmosphere physics, wrote and contributed to a number of peer-reviewed scientific papers, engaged in public outreach activities, including popular science educational website development, assisted in PhD student supervision, contributed to research funding applications, and represented Denmark in the international space science community.

  • Spacecraft Flight Dynamics Engineer, European Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, 2000.

Under contract to the European Space Agency, I developed spacecraft flight dynamics software for ESA's first interplanetary missions: Mars Express, Rosetta and Smart-1.

I completed a suite of ISO9001-compliant flight dynamics programs for interplanetary missions, refined celestial mechanics calculations, and adapted Earth satellite ground station and tracking routines for interplanetary missions.

  • Research Fellow, University of Southampton, 1997–2000

In Southampton I carried out research into the physics of the aurora and ionospheric climatology, and developed a mathematical model describing ionospheric chemistry and energetics changes in response to dynamic and energetic auroral electron precipitation.

Through radar, optics and satellite observations, together with mathematical modelling, I studied auroral structure and dynamics, and micro-instabilities in space plasmas. Other responsibilities included science public outreach, undergraduate tutorial group leadership, research project and laboratory supervision, communication skills development, PhD student supervision, contribution to research funding applications, and faculty board membership.


  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) – "EISCAT and Dynasonde observations of the auroral ionosphere", Prifysgol Cymru Aberystwyth (University of Wales) and British Antarctic Survey, 1996.

Under the supervision of the late, great radio astronomy pioneer Phil Williams, I designed space and atmospheric radar experiments, and developed data reduction, analysis and interpretation techniques for the study of plasma dynamics in the high-latitude ionosphere. Fieldwork was carried out in Arctic Scandinavia. Part of my time was devoted to undergraduate teaching, including tutorial group leadership and laboratory supervision, and I served on the Executive Committee of the Mature Students’ Union.

  • Bachelor of Science (BSc Hons), "Physics with Planetary and Space Physics", Prifysgol Cymru Aberystwyth (University of Wales), 1993.

Alongside a standard physics curriculum, in the second and third years I studied astronomy, planetary, space and atmospheric physics. My degree thesis was based on a study of atmospheric gravity waves in the sub-auroral zone. Throughout my time as a student in Aberystwyth I served on the Staff-Student Liaison Committee of the Physics Department, and the Executive Committee of the Mature Students' Union.


  • Communication and teaching

Journalistic science writing and editing; technical writing and editing; public relations; undergraduate physics teaching and pre-university tuition; communications skills seminars and research project supervision; PhD student supervision; laboratory demonstrating; research peer review; science public outreach.

  • Science and engineering research

Space and atmospheric radar systems; atmospheric optics; magnetometry; plasma wave and particle detection; signal processing; geophysical time-series and spectral analysis; inverse problem solving and Bayesian statistics; radiative transfer; aeronomy and auroral energetics; interplanetary spacecraft orbital analysis and celestial mechanics.

  • Project support and management

Space science mission Co-Investigator; lead scientist in Denmark for ESA's Cluster mission; member of the Low Frequency Array/LOIS Science Consortium; research funding proposal writer; auroral radar campaign manager; university faculty board member.

  • Computer programming and applications

Fortran; C; C++; Matlab; IDL; Unix shell scripting; perl; CDF/HDF data formats; MySQL and Oracle databases; CVS/SCCS configuration control; HTML; XML; CSS; PHP; WordPress; JavaScript; Unix, GNU/Linux; Apple OS X; Windows; systems and network administration; LibreOffice; TeX/LaTeX; Microsoft Office; FrameMaker.

  • Languages

English; Welsh; Danish; German; Norwegian; Swedish; Irish; French (in decreasing order of fluency).