Back to list

Dr Helen Czerski 

Year started



Ocean Physics

Fellow Type


Dr Helen Czerski is a physicist and oceanographer with a passion for science, sport, books, creativity, hot chocolate and investigating the interesting things in life.

Helen graduated from Churchill College in 2001 with an MSc in Natural Sciences (Physics), and again in 2006 with a PhD in experimental explosives physics. Her fascination with the world of very fast small-scale phenomena soon led her from explosives to the study of ocean bubble formation. In 2010, Helen returned to the UK after four years spent working in the USA at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography. Her academic home now is the Department of Mechanical Engineering at University College London.”

Her research addresses the physics of breaking waves and bubbles at the ocean surface. These bubbles change underwater sound and light, help transfer gases from ocean to atmosphere (helping the ocean breathe) and also eject ocean material into the air. She has spent months working on research ships in the Antarctic, the Pacific, the North Atlantic and the Arctic, and is an experienced field scientist.

Helen has been a regular science presenter on the BBC for ten years, covering the physics of the natural world in BBC2 landmark documentaries (including ‘Orbit’, ‘Operation iceberg’ and ‘Supersenses’), and the physics of everyday life in a range of BBC4 documentaries (including ‘From ice to fire: The incredible science of temperature’, ‘Sound waves: The symphony of physics’, and ‘Colour: The spectrum of science’, along with many others). She is a frequent voice on the radio and on podcasts.

Helen writes regularly about science, and her first book Storm in a Teacup won the Italian Asimov Prize and the Louis J. Battan Author prize from the American Meteorological Society. She was awarded the Institute of Physics Gold Medal in 2018 for her work on physics communication, and an Honorary Fellowship of the British Science Association in 2020. She has been a Trustee of Royal Museums Greenwich since 2018.

Photo © Alex Brenner


Helen Czerski