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Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)

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At UCL there is a huge space research community, and not only in the Science faculties.

Obviously there are many researchers within the 'hard sciences' but there are also many humanities scholars at UCL whose work relates to space and astronomy, in a range of subjects including history, art, literature, and philosophy.

Director

Dr David Jeevendrampillai is an Anthropologist of Outer Space
Dr David Jeevendrampillai

Dr David Jeevendrampillai is an Anthropologist of Outer Space. As a research fellow on the ERC funded ETHNO-ISS project his current research examines the curation, narration and use of Earth Imagery from the International Space Station. He is interested in the anthropology of the future, technology and modernity, the politics of knowing place and emergent conceptions of the human and the body, particularly in relation to technology and data. His interests encompass but are not limited to discussions on land rights, post-cosmopolitanisms and colonialism. He is interested in bringing together the wide array of academic disciplines involved in space science to engage in a critical discussions around outer space. 

Assistant Director

Paddy Edgley
Paddy Edgley

Paddy Edgley is an anthropologist and PhD candidate at UCL Anthropology. His work ethnographically traces how people engage with the cosmos through stargazing and astrophotography. His current project involves working with amateur astronomers in and around central London. He focuses on the relations between humans and their planetary/cosmic environment. He studies the intellectual, material, and social work that goes into constructing cosmic perspectives, space communities and astronomical traditions. He is particularly interested in the limits of knowledge and knowledge making practices. Through his study of cosmic knowledge he is also interested in the history and form of the scientific tradition, ecological thought, and ideas of the anthropocene, as well imagined human futures. His research interests include: cosmopolitics, prospective futures and utopianism, space anthropology, and astronomy and cosmology.

COSS Affiliates

The COSS Affiliates list is made up of the staff and doctoral researchers at UCL whose work involves the critical study of Outer Space. The affiliates make up the intellectual energy and vibrancy of the centre. The centre is run for and by its affiliates who use the centre to foster interdisciplinary and public conversations on the study of outer space. COSS sends internal newsletters to its affiliates each term and promotes their work through COSS social media channels. To become a COSS Affiliate please send an email to david.jeevendrampillai@ucl.ac.uk and lucy.stagg@ucl.ac.uk

  • Ms Eleanor S. Armstrong (Institute of Education): Critical approaches to narratives and pedagogies around space science in science museums, media and popular culture.
  • Ms Nicola Baldwin (IAS/Urban Labs): "For reasons I don't really understand - space is a recurring theme in my plays and scripts"
  • Prof Victor Buchli (Anthropology): The material culture of Low Earth orbit. The anthropology of Outer Space
  • Mr Giles Bunch (Anthropology): How spaceflight practitioners conceptualise human behaviour, health, sociality, and the body in outer space and on Earth.
  • Dr Timothy A Carroll (Anthropology): Interested in the properties of materials as they are taken up in the, quite often, creative production of religious subjects.
  • Mr Simon Faithfull (Slade School of Fine Art): His work has been described as an attempt to understand and explore the planet as a sculptural object - to test its limits and report back from its extremities. Within his work Faithfull often builds teams of scientists, technicians and transmission experts to help him bring back a personal vision from the ends of the world.
  • Dr Luke Fenton-Glynn (Philosophy): philosophy of science, with a subsidiary interest in formal epistemology. My focus to date has been on issues concerning causation, probability, and laws of nature.
  • Prof Andrew Gregory (Science & Technology Studies): Ancient science, especially astronomy, cosmology & cosmogony.
  • Mr Myles Harris (Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction): Researching prolonged field care (healthcare) in remote environments and space health.
  • Ms Osnat Katz (Science & Technology Studies): the history of the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, combining oral history and material culture approaches.
  • Dr James Kneale (Geography): Literary geographies and representations of space, particularly in non-realist genres (science fiction, horror, ghost stories, utopias, etc). 
  • Dr Thibaut Maus de Rolley (SELCS): travel writing; imaginary voyages and alternative worlds (especially lunar travel narratives).
  • Ms Ziba Norman (Institute of Education): works on the theological implications of emergent transhumanism, with a particular interest in Artificial Intelligence and Bio-enhancement.
  • Dr Aaron Parkhurst (Anthropology): local systems of destiny, cosmology, agency, body practices, and kinship, and the languages one uses to articulate the 'self' and world are transformed. 
  • Dr Sophie Page (History): European medieval magic and astrology, especially in relation to orthodox religion, natural philosophy, medicine and cosmology.
  • Prof Michael J. Reiss (Institute of Education): Science education, religion and ethic.
  • Prof Sacha Stern (Hebrew and Jewish Studies): the Jewish calendar, the concept of time, and the history of calendars in Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

Relevant UCL centres and departments