The i4is educational Academy fosters educational abilities and supports research in interstellar studies, associated sciences and the arts.
The Academy of the Intiative for Interstellar Studies
“Our Place in Space”
The Initiative has created an educational Academy, bringing scholarships and project work to students, developing courses and working with schools to encourage more people towards a career in space. The educational Committee is responsible for the activities of the i4is Academy.
I4is-related Masters projects are being undertaken in collaboration with the International Space University based in Strasbourg, France. Further links are being developed with various other universities. Students and others are funded to attend international space conferences to expand their horizons and gain personal experience; but this is just the start.
We are helping the most talented students, encouraging them to stay involved in the space industry and dedicate themselves to studies relating to interstellar flight. But we also provide opportunities for those students who are disadvantaged or may come from humble beginnings, although show potential and a willingness to improve themselves. Our curriculum in interstellar studies will provide students with the training they need to be successful in this field.
Although the Initiative’s mission has a clearly defined goal to achieve interstellar flight the Academy is providing a cornerstone in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) goals of the wider society. We encourage all aspects of understanding; including related social and cultural activities and the arts, and imagination so that our graduates will be able to work cooperatively with anyone from the global community and make a positive contribution.
The Academy fires up the Initiative and is where individuals can better themselves for the benefit of all people; it will be our place in space (on Earth) to secure our place in space.
Members Educational Academy Committee
Rob Swinney, Chairman, Director
In the 1980s Rob Swinney completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne (achieving a 2:1) and his Master of Science degree in Radio Astronomy at the University of Manchester (Jodrell Bank – thesis ‘Kinematics of the Radio Flare star Cygnus X-3′). After several successful years working as a teacher of Craft, Design and Technology at Sherborne Boys School in Dorset he returned to his studies and graduated from Cranfield University (then the Cranfield Institute of Technology) with a further Master of Science degree in Avionics and Flight Control Systems (thesis ‘Graphical Interface for a hybrid Flight Simulator’). After Cranfield University he undertook a challenging and rewarding career in the Royal Air Force as an Aerosystems Engineering Officer and he completed his RAF Commission in 2006 having attained the rank of Squadron Leader. He is a Chartered Engineer registered with the UK’s Engineering Council and a Member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology and a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society. Rob has been published in Nature and the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society and recently returned to the world of academia and research. Rob was inspired by Isaac Asimov, first by the great author’s science fiction but later by the non-fiction that opened his mind to the future possibilities. This inspiration encouraged him to undertake a lifelong study of aspects of Cosmology and Astronomy. As a boy he followed the Apollo adventure and as a young man the Grand Tour of the Voyager spacecraft but after his studies became restrained by the realities of life. As important, the boyhood images of Star Trek and such, some 30-40 years ago, appeared to be no more than pure fantasy. Now today, he believes the ‘planets are aligning’ again and the i4is will galvanise the population and prove that, although it may still seem difficult, real practical steps on the road to interstellar travel are being taken.
John is a lifelong engineer and a Londoner of over 30 years standing with northern English origins and strong Scottish connections. He has been fascinated by space travel ever since he read the Dan Dare stories in the Eagle in the 50s. He recalls contradicting his father who, despite being an engineer himself, thought that "rockets can't fly in space because there is nothing for them to push against". Once Sputnik One went up his dad became a bit of a space enthusiast too. John was the first person in his family to go to university, studying Electronics at Liverpool University. He joined Hawker Siddeley Dynamics Space Projects Division in 1968 and worked on the latter stages of the most substantial launch vehicle ever built in UK, Bluestreak. He also worked on satellite projects including a design study for a large space telescope which acquired the name Hubble about 12 years later. He was fascinated by digital technology and moved to Edinburgh University where he wrote some very early communications software. He took a year off to study Computer Science more formally at Manchester University, taking his M.Sc. back to Edinburgh before moving on to London University doing similar work. He re-joined the commercial sector as a consultant and in technical sales support and was involved in the early stages of SMS messaging and in packet radio long before we all started using it, as GPRS, for our smart phones. He has been involved in three start-up companies, one of which survives! His last full-time job was running the IT volunteering programme for the Information Technologists livery company of the City of London. He's now retired but busier than ever with STEMnet work in London schools, the Initiative for Interstellar Studies, and helping the elderly residents of Hackney to get into computing and the Internet. He's a long established member of both the British Interplanetary Society and the British Computer Society. He was one of the leads for our World Science Fiction Convention 2014 participation.