Helen Mason

Helen leads the STFC (Science and Technology Facilities Council) funded SunSpaceArt team. She has always been keen to convey her passion for the Sun and its effect on the Earth to the public and school students.

She has produced an educational web site for teachers and students (11-16 year old) called Sun|trek which is used extensively worldwide. She has given many public lectures and worked closely with UK schools. She has participated in radio and TV programmes, for example BBC4’s ‘Seven Ages of Starlight’.

Helen is a solar scientist at DAMTP, the University of Cambridge, where she has worked for over forty years. She is an international expert in ultraviolet (UV) and X-ray observations of the Sun. She has worked on many joint UK, NASA, ESA and Japanese space projects including Skylab, the Solar Maximum Mission, Yohkoh, SoHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory), Hinode and the SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory). Solar space observations have completely changed our view of the Sun.

In 2014, Helen was awarded an OBE for her services to Higher Education and to Women in Science, Engineering and Technology. In 2015/16, she worked closely with Heather MacRae (Ideas Foundation) and the Space to Earth Challenge team to support the Principia Educational Outreach Programme associated with ESA/UK astronaut, Tim Peake, during his six month flight on the International Space Station.

In 2018, she was awarded the Royal Astronomical Society’s Annie Maunder Medal for Outreach.

The SunSpaceArt project combines my two passions – science and art. It is wonderful to work with such a talented team and to watch how excited and proud the children are when they create a piece of art work related to the science they have been exploring. We are immensely grateful for all the support and encouragement STFC has given us.