Alumni Services

Career Journeys: working as a freelance Science Writer

From interning at the European Southern Observatory to attending the International Space University, Calum Turner shares his career path since graduation and his current work as a freelance Science Writer.

Name Calum Turner
Degree Course MPhys Astrophysics
Year of Graduation 2017
A photo of Calum Turner
Calum Turner

What path has your career taken since graduation?

Shortly after graduation, I took part in the Erice International School of Science Journalism, where I learned from some leading science journalists from across Europe. I then undertook an internship at the European Southern Observatory in science journalism, writing about astronomical breakthroughs and cutting-edge telescopes. When my supervisor retired, I was offered their job for a year, allowing me to become Public Information Officer for the world’s foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation — albeit briefly! In this role I was the contact point for the media at ESO, and I coordinated a team of science communicators to produce press releases, announcements, videos, social media posts, and other outreach products.

After my year at ESO I attended the Space Studies Program at the International Space University to broaden my skills and knowledge and I now work as a freelance science writer. I am able to write about a variety of topics, collaborating with new teams and on new projects, which keeps my work varied and interesting. I generally write copy for press releases, announcements, and reports, but what I end up doing can vary a lot day-to-day.

What experiences do you feel helped you get to your current position?

My internship at ESO and continued professional development with courses like the International Space University and the Erice International School of Science Journalism proved to be great for networking and gaining experience. While at university, writing for EUSci and working in science communication at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh also provided valuable experience and helped me get my internship.

How have you used the skills and/or knowledge developed during your degree in your career?

I write mainly about astronomy and astrophysics, so the knowledge from my degree comes in handy! The skills in research are also useful and allow me to come to grips with unfamiliar topics quickly.