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The University of Southampton
Public Engagement with Research

Dr Pearl John BA Fine Art and English Literature (1990); MA Holography (1992); PhD Fine Art Holography (2018)

Public Engagement Leader, Physics & Astronomy

Dr Pearl John's photo

Pearl works full-time in Physics and Astronomy at the University of Southampton as the Public Engagement Leader; promoting the study of Physics and Photonics (the science of light), to schools and colleges, and the research of the department to the public. Pearl also teaches the Undergraduate Ambassador Scheme module for Physics, sending UG students into local schools to run short projects to help teach physics.  She has a continuing interest in art and photonics technology, having just completed a PhD in Holography.  She exhibits her work internationally; most recently at the Aveiro City Museum, Portugal in October 2018.  Pearl runs the University’s travelling Light Express laser show, an interactive talk about photonics and the internet for local schools and colleges, and delivers photonics workshops to students of all ages for both the Physics and Astronomy department and the Future Manufacturing Hub. 


2002-present: University of Southampton

1998-2002: Photonics Instructor to High School students, Columbia Area Career Centre, Missouri, USA.

1996-98: Visiting Lecturer BTEC and BA Photography, Croydon College, UK.

1994-94: Holography Consultant (FA Cup Programme Cover) and assistant (The Holographic Image Studios, 3D/4D Holographics), UK.

In addition to studio research and varied public engagement activities, Pearl has worked as a teacher for 15-18 year-old high school students in the USA where she helped to write the curriculum for the world’s first three year dedicated high school photonics programme. The programme had an art/science/technology approach to encouraging more students to follow careers in laser technology.  While in the US she also acted as a Laser safety consultant to 3M.  Pearl’s current role includes being principle investigator on an EU-funded Photonics outreach project which has designed and delivered workshops for different age-groups in community maker’s labs. (

Dr Pearl John
Physics & Astronomy
Building 46, Room 3005
University of Southampton
Highfield Campus

Room Number : 46/2021

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