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Phillip Calcott spends the night with the Miss World Finalists
When Philip told me he had spent 4 nights with the Miss World finalists in 2008 I glanced round to see if his wife was listening; but I soon realised what he had been up to... he was showing them the stars!
Philip is brilliant at making the vastness of space understandable even to those of us who find science mind-boggling. Constellations, super-nova and black holes become dramatic when he speaks. One cannot help catch his enthusiasm. I remember sitting under a clear sky listening to his talks with our six year old, and she was enthralled as he made plain the story of the universe.
Philip studied Physics at Oxford, and then worked for the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment for almost twenty years, researching the interplay of light with matter, applying his work to semi-conductors and fibre optics. He earned a PhD through Sheffield University at the same time.
His life took a surprising turn when he married into a family that has farmed for generations in the Waterberg region in northern South Africa.
Phillip shares astronomy with people from all backgrounds
The massive, dark, southern skies of Africa gave Philip the opportunity to explore astronomy, and with the enthusiasm of a convert, Philip began sharing his enjoyment of the stars at safari lodges, leading to his company ‘Night Star Safaris’.
Philip’s popularity has extended to television and radio features, and he is the founder of the annual Waterberg Planetary Festival. This festival, like his ‘star safaris’ are aimed at the novice and amateur enthusiast.
When the stars are not shining Philip promotes solar technology in South Africa, and he cultivates spices.
Author: Roddy Bray
Published Date: 07 May 2010
Location: Southern Africa | South Africa
Themes: natural world | astronomy