Who We Are

Most of the members of BLEAT are PhD students at the University of East Anglia’s School of Environmental Science. Not content with the already oppressive workload that accompanies a science PhD, BLEAT’s members were keen to take the UEA to new heights during their spare time. The project has taken shape over several months and has been financed by a small, but gratefully received, contribution from the school.

Andrew Rushby

Andrew is a planetary scientist (more closely described by the less-acceptable term, ‘astrobiologist’) who is using computer modelling techniques to investigate the potential habitability and geochemistry of extrasolar planets. He likes exoplanets and astrobiology so much that he writes about them (semi) regularly on his site. The idea for BLEAT came to Andrew one day whilst sat, as usual, in front of a computer. Envious of the exotic fieldwork campaigns of his officemates he was eager to do some ‘hands-on’ science for a change. Luckily, he found plenty of other people who thought the BLEAT was a good idea too.

Chief Engineer Sam Royle:

Sam is a geologist studying carbonates from fossil corals and molluscs as potential high resolution paleoclimatic indicators  for the Mediterranean. Considering himself a ‘man’s man’, he rides a Harley Davidson and is a keen fell walker. He built the ‘space box’ from brawn and duct-tape.


Tactical Officer Luke Surl

Luke is an atmospheric scientist working on the chemistry of volcanic plumes, with specific focus on bromine chemistry and passively degassing volcanoes. He is also the creator of web-comic lukesurl.com and actor with the Broken Glass Theatre Company. Luke has been instrumental in the planning and organisation of BLEAT, as well as advancing its outreach capability and science return.

Professor Roland von Glasow

Roland is a professor of atmospheric science, and our resident responsible adult. He has assisted the project by providing valuable advice on the launch from his extensive knowledge of atmospheric dynamics, and also by donating radiosondes and the associated hardware and software for tracking the payload.

Science Officer Jan ‘Honza’ Chylik

Honza is a meteorologist working on improving the numerical prediction of storms. He is also our resident barman, and has improved the weekly PhD Happy Hour beyond what was originally thought possible by introducing unprecedented levels of choice and sophistication. Much of the planning around the project took place during Happy Hour, and the fine ales and cocktails on offer certainly assisted in the smooth organisation of the project. He is also tasked with providing us with some idea of the conditions in the upper atmosphere, and the location of the jet-stream.


Many others have been involved in the inception and planning of BLEAT, and whilst I would like to I can’t list them all here. This includes friendly advice online or in person and translation services (Céline and Karin), to the use of various spare bits and pieces for the box, the donation of the cameras (Ben and Melanie) and the use of freezers for the testing of the box. We are also grateful to the technicians at the UEA for ordering and housing our helium supply. There are many people that have guided BLEAT along its bumpy path skywards and our thanks goes out to them.

A special thanks should go to Michael Brown for securing us some more funding for the project, and covering the whole endeavour in our University’s newspaper Concrete (coming soon).


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