Heather Couper spent some time as a retail manager before she returned to her childhood interest in the heavens and took the lowly post of research assistant at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge. She enjoyed it so much she went on to study astronomy and physics. Subsequent jobs ranged from monitoring volcanic activity on Mount Etna to helping out at the Science Museum. Friends in publishing asked her to contribute to encyclopedias - and before long, she and Nigel Henbest had their first book published. So Heather got onto the lecturing circuit, spending much time holding forth on matters astronomical to clubs and evening classes.
All this was great practice for the post of Lecturer at the Greenwich Planetarium, which Heather landed late in 1977. In her five and half years there, she gave talks to over 50,000 people. She left in mid-1983 to go freelance - the logic being that she could communicate science to millions (instead of thousands) through books, radio and TV.
These days Heather Couper and Nigel Henbest are leading science popularisers, specialising in astronomy and space. They run the award winning Pioneer Productions, one of the UK's top 50 independent TV and video production companies, from Pinewood Studios which specialises in making factual programmes for both the broadcast and corporate markets. They also present Seeing Stars, their own monthly radio series on the BBC World Service. Between them they have presented and guested on a vast range of radio and television programmes. Their programme Black Holes won The Gold Medal for a Science and Technology Documentary at the New York Festival 1997.
Nigel and Heather have an astronomy column in The Independent newspaper, they both regularly write articles for all the other nationals and leading science magazines and journals and travel all over the world giving lectures. Between them, they have written a huge array of books, and have won many awards including the Senior Information Book Award (Times Educational Supplement) twice!, the Outstanding Science Books for Children Award (US National Science Teachers Association) and the Children's Science Book Award (New York Academy of Sciences).