As an astronomer, I get asked all sorts of things, ranging from what black holes are, to where did the universe come from and are there aliens out there – so I have to cover a lot of material!
My research involves using data from telescopes, and applying maths and physics to that data so that I can figure out what is going on. So I have to use a range of skills to pull all of the information together, and then be a bit imaginative to try and visualise what is going on around the star, black hole etc.
I can then use these same skills and my knowldege of science to help me answer questions, even if they are not about things that I am working on. Because I know about how stars work etc. I can use that knowledge to try and figure out the science behind other questions, even if they are about planets or galaxies.
At the end of the day, you need a good knowledge of your science area, and a bit of common sense, and a good imagination – those will help you to try and come up with answers to most questions!
My job requires me to be a generalist. I have to know about stuff about a broad range of subjects from pollutants, technologies, sensors, climate change to fish and loads in between. Knowing about this range of issues can help me answer lots of questions – i hope!