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Interview with Professor Don Pollacco

pollaccointerviewLife as an astronomer: "it really is like Star Trek"

Professor Don Pollacco is a world leader in the search for planets around distant stars, Don played a crucial role in developing the Super WASP project, which has found more than a third of all known transiting planets and was awarded the Royal Astronomical Society Group Achievement Award in 2010. The discovery of Kepler-78b in October 2013 attracted media coverage worldwide, with some reports suggesting the planet had Earth-like properties. But what does that mean? Are we a step closer to finding another habitable environment outisde of our solar system?

Ultimately one of the reasons I do this is to find out our place in the universe. What I mean by that is how unique is the solar system? This is a big question but it’s at the heart of what we do and it’s very exciting. When I started my career I would never have believed I would have a phase working in this area – it really is like Star Trek! I was brought up during the time of the Apollo moon landings and this was such an inspirational time I don’t think I had any choice but to do what I do."