Robert Simpson

Have been updating my blog like a mad thing.

Favourite Thing: Blowing people’s minds wide open is my favourite part of the job. There is also the hardcore problem solving. After attacking a problem for possibly weeks on end, you sometimes discover that you have an answer. The feeling of solving a complicated problem and reaching a solution is hard to beat at work.



Lode Heath School (1993-1998)


Cardiff University (2000-2004, 2006-2010)

Work History:

Self employed IT Guy (2004-2006)


Oxford University

Current Job:

I am a researcher and web developer for the Zooniverse. I create citizen science websites and use the results of those to understand more about the Universe. My current focus is the Milky Way Project which is enlisting the help of people all over the world to map and measure the contents of our galaxy.

Me and my work

As a web developer, I create websites that allow people to help researchers do science. As a researcher, I use the results of those websites to understand how stars and planets form in the Universe.

My Typical Day

Wake, shower, eat, play, twitter, walk, bus, twitter, walk, coffee, email, work, meeting, work, lunch, work, work, skype, email, read, work, walk, facebook, bus, walk, play, eat, play, night garden, sit, email, watch, sleep.

What I'd do with the money

Launch a probe into space, with help from the public.

I work as part of the Zooniverse ( Almost 400,000 people have taken part so far and have contributed to real science through our projects such as as Galaxy Zoo (, Old Weather (, the Milky Way Project (, Planet Hunters ( and more.

With the £500 I would kick-start a project to put a Zooniverse Probe into space and perform an experiment. Privately funded space exploration is the way of the future and with almost half a million people behind us, the Zooniverse is in a great position to do something amazing.

I would try to put an everyday smartphone or tablet computer onto a balloon that would soar high into the atmosphere and perform a real experiment that we would try to publish in an actual scientific journal. Anyone would be welcome to help us and although I don’t know the details yet, I’d love the experiment to involve people on the ground actively participating, from schools, back gardens and other places.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Just three words?

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Publicly: Jason Mraz. Privately: Glee.

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Can’t decide. Either climbing Mount Sinai, visiting every spot on the Monopoly board or go jungle trekking on Christmas Day in Malaysia.

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

I’m not sure to be honest. The top three Google Suggest entries for “I wish…” are: I wish I was a punk rocker, I wish I was a little bit taller and I wish it could be Christmas every day.

What did you want to be after you left school?

An astronomer and a writer

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

Sometimes. During my chemistry A-Level I failed to turn on a fume cupboard and let toxic fumes fill the room. At school I got detention a couple of times for talking back to teachers.

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

Teach other people about how the stars are born.

Tell us a joke.

How many lightbulbs does it take to change a seasonal affective disorder sufferer?