Dr Sheila Peacock
c/o Royal Astronomical Society
BSc, PhD, CPhys MInstP, FGS, FRAS; British Geophysical Association (BGA) Committee 1999-2011, 2014-present; RAS Council 2012-14; Ocean Drilling Program Working Group on Drilling the Seismogenic Zone, 1997-9.
Special interests: I am a geophysicist with a PhD in seismology and twelve years' experience as a university lecturer (1991-2002). At present I work for a government contractor as a seismologist involved in monitoring the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. I serve the BGA Committee as awards officer, having previously been Meetings Secretary, then Secretary. While on RAS Council and since, I helped prepare submissions to (among others) the Migration Advisory Council (MAC) on shortage occupations, the House of Lords S&T Committee on scientific infrastructure, and to the MAC again, defending the International Seismological Centre against proposed immigration restrictions that would threaten its existence in the UK. My position as owner of the BGA mailing list allows me to solicit wide geophysical opinions on consultations. I was also branch secretary for Birmingham University AUT (now UCU) for four years, which gave me valuable experience in employment law and listening to members and keeping them informed. The RAS is doing more jointly with other professional societies, particularly the Geological Society and the Institute of Physics (to both of which I belong), to press the science agenda, and it is also making its own strong case for the unique value of its subjects, including by commissioning booklets on their “impact”. My aim is to encourage this trend.
I used to be a trustee for a charity that owns a number of properties, some venerable. I chair the committee responsible for these; and I handled the registration of the charity with the Charity Commission. I am also secretary of Basingstoke Transition Network, trying to prepare the town for a low-carbon future, and Prospect trade union Health, Safety and Environment rep for my workplace.
Rejoining the Council of the RAS will strengthen me in standing up for UK astronomy and geophysics in the political arena. I believe that this is the most important function of any professional society in the modern era. The need is greater than ever for RAS members to teach politicians that our subjects – astronomy and geophysics - are worth supporting.