Hi. My name is Martin Zaltz Austwick. I’m a musician and podcaster, and an Honorary Senior Lecturer in Data Visualisation at UCL in London.

I make music as Pale Bird, Martin Austwick, Dr Martin Austwick, and The Sound of the Ladies.  I’m also a podcaster – I’m one third of Answer Me This!, one of the UK’s most successful independent podcasts (which won a Sony Silver in 2010 and a Sony Gold in 2011). I also co-created Song by Song (which won a British Podcast Award in 2017), Brain Train, and Global Lab, and created The Sound of the Ladies podcast. I’ve written and performed music for the aforementioned shows, as well as for The Allusionist, The Beef and Dairy Network, the Glamour UK podcast, and others. I’ve spoken at Boring Conference, Geek Showoff, SciBar, Pint of Science, and a bunch of other places on a variety of topics from Eggs to GPS data.

I tweet @martinaustwick.

In my academic life, I was a Senior Lecturer at CASA, the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at the Bartlett in University College London (UCL) until September 2017. My research covered digital humanities, cycling, freight transport, the sharing economy, REF Impact, and communities of practice. I teach, and have trained on, data visualisation, and was Course Director on our Spatial Data Science and Visualisation masters programmes from 2013-2017. I’ve been active in public engagement, and have given numerous public talks, chaired Cafe Scientifique events, and run podcasts aimed at sharing ideas from science and academia, and won a UCL award for Institutional Leadership in Public Engagement in 2016 for my work enabling and supporting staff and student in my department an ESPRC-funded Public Engagement Fellowship.

My academic twitter is @sociablephysics.

Find out more about…



Data Visualisation



I’ve taught and trained on Data Visualisation since 2011, including

  • Principles of data visualisation and design
  • Processing
  • Python (pandas)
  • Carto

delivering to UCL Masters and Undergraduate students and ARUP and UK Central Government (Civil Service).

Examples of my work

Painting With Light

Since 2015, I’ve developed site-specific visualisation and walks using the Pixelstick:

Madrid Bike Share

Visualising Data Collected by the Madrid Cycle Track project

Visualisation of Dijkstra’s Algorithm

You can find more examples of my work on my vimeo page.

Podcast Music

I have been composing and recording music and song for podcasts since 2007.

In June 2017 I composed and recorded the score for The Allusionist’s Eclipse, inspired by Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart:

and in May 2016 created the score for Continental using items in a Moab Bed and Breakfast:

You can hear instrumental versions of my music on recent episodes of The Allusionist– as well as the theme tune I created.

I performed live scoring and songs with Roman Mars and Helen Zaltzman over Easter 2017 as part of their 99% Allusional shows, integrating stories and performance from 99% Invisible and The Allusionist.

In May 2017 I created a “verbatim instrumental” to celebrate the 300th Episode of Getting Better Acquainted:

In September 2016 I performed a song about a man sent to jail for Beef Crimes as part of the Beef and Dairy Network’s live show at the London Podcast Festival. I also soundtracked the Allusionist Live as part of the same event.

I’ve created and produced songs, jingles, idents and bed music for a number of podcasts including Answer Me This!, Mortified

(I’m the one going “baby, baby, baby, yeah”)

Brain Train

The Global Lab


Why Are Computers?Hey It’s OK (from Glamour UK), Pappy’s Flatshare Slamdown, Bright Club, Vera and Adrian’s Sex Tape, and The Family Tree.

Songwriting and recording

I write songs and sing them on recordings and in public (if only there were a hypenate for that!). You can find it all here: http://palebirdmusic.com

I currently record as Pale Bird – Ten Things Which Aren’t Love is out on November 3rd, you can pre-release it here:

In 2014, I released Through Intermittent Rain, a collection of songs mostly written especially for specific gigs and events:

I sometimes make videos of my music, like this one for “10,000 Letters of Love”:

This is the  album it was taken from, 2012’s The City of Gold and Lead:

This is my 2011 collection of songs about science:

I also produce other people’s music sometimes –  including Spirit of Play’s 2017 Apocalypse EP:

as well as their previous EP, Take Shelter: https://spiritofplay.bandcamp.com/



I have been involved with about a billion podcasts.

The most well-known is comedy podcast Answer me This!:

Just so you know, it has rude words and racy content. We’ve been running since 2007 and have won two Sony awards and has tens of thousands of regular listeners, making us one of the most successful independent podcasts in the UK.

Song by Song podcast discusses every Tom Waits song in chronological order:

In 2007 I started The Sound of The Ladies podcast, where I record and release a song every month; it ran until last summer.

Around the same time I had a spell engineering the Bright Club Podcast with Steve Cross, and wrote the theme song for it. Bright Club Podcast span out from the Bright Club live events, and featured a comedian asking academics about their areas of expertise.

In 2011, I started Global Lab with Steven Gray. I wrote the theme tune too. Global Lab is themed around the work that CASA is interested in – global complexity, technology in the urban realm, cities, and people. The format is currently based on interviews with academics and experts in the field, but it’s an interesting testbed for new ideas and collaborations.

In summer 2012, I started Brain Train with Alice Bell. I wrote the theme tune. Brain Train was inspired by Bright Club and Chain Reaction, but precipitated by a twitter conversation. In it, an expert asks someone something they’ve always wanted to know about a subject well outside their comfort zone. Next episode, the expert becomes the novice and finds out all about something they know nothing about. The show continued with Rachel Souhami until 2016.

I’ve created music for the aforementioned shows, as well as for The Allusionist, The Beef and Dairy Network, Pappy’s Flatshare Slamdown, the Glamour UK podcast, Why are Computers, and Sound Women, and had tiny cameos on Jordan, Jesse Go! and Mortified.


I worked as Senior Lecturer in Spatial Data Science and Visualisation in the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at UCL until September 2017. Here are some useful links for finding out more:

Hannah Fry and I voiced (and I scored) this video about CASA’s work in 2016:

Here I am in 2015 talking about data visualisation (with thanks to Kevin Biderman, full details in the vimeo page):

and here I am talking about cities and data for a UCL lunch hour lecture in December 2012:

Here is a talk I did on eggs at the Boring Conference in May 2014. I’m not an egg physicist, I just like egg cookery:

Prior to working in this field, I have been a medical laser physicist and worked in the field of Quantum Computing. I think interdisciplinary work is inevitable whenever we start to to think about interesting problems that we might want to work on:

(that’s me at TEDx LSE in March 2013).

If you’d like to hear about some of my medical physics work, here’s a brief summary:





This is embarassing. But if you want a bio for an event I’m speaking at, singing at, dancing at or otherwise frequenting, there’s some useful text here, and some lovely photos below:


Martin Austwick is a podcaster, musician and singer-songwriter, and has released albums as Pale Bird, The Sound of The Ladies, Martin Austwick and songs about science as Dr Martin Austwick. He has performed music live for The Allusionist, 99% Invisible, and the Third Coast International Audio Awards, and contributed music for a number of podcasts including The Beef and Dairy Network. His podcast about every Tom Waits song is called Song by Song.


<100 words (academic/training):

Martin Zaltz Austwick is a specialist in data visualisation, mapping, and public engagement, and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Spatial Data Science and Visualisation at the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) at UCL. His research interests include visualisation and analysis of cycling systems, freight transportation, sharing economies, communities of practice, and pedestrian behaviour; and Digital Humanities, including corpus text analysis and collaborative mapping. He has an active interest in public engagement through public talks, workshops, datavis, audio, blogging, and community engagement, and won the 2015 UCL Public Engagement Award for Institutional Leadership.

<100 words (public events):

Martin Zaltz Austwick is an expert in data visualization, programming, podcasting and public engagement, with an interest in cities and networks. Public engagement is central to his work through data and model visualisation, blogging, podcasting, public talks, video, music and a dedication to supporting and training others. In his spare time he is a musician, urban rambler and award-winning podcaster.

<150 words (podcasting and audio):

Martin Zaltz Austwick is an award-winning podcaster (Radio Academy/Sony/Aria Gold for Answer Me This! in 2011; British Podcast Award 2017 for Song by Song). He’s co-created, presented and produced podcasts since 2007 including Answer Me This!, Song by Song, Brain Train, Global Lab and The Sound of The Ladies, and created music for the above and The Allusionist, The Beef and Dairy Network, Mortified, Sound Women and Why Are Computers?. He’s provided podcast training to HEFCW and UCL, co-ordinated maker events as part of the London Podcast Festival, and judged in the Radio Production Awards. He’s released five albums and several EPs of original songs as Pale Bird, (Dr) Martin Austwick and The Sound of The Ladies.

From the CASA website: [nb: I now have an honorary role and the below is more illustrative of my prior work as a full-time staff member]


Dr Martin Zaltz Austwick is a Senior Lecturer and Course Director of the Spatial Data Science and Visualisation Masters degree. He holds an undergraduate Physics degree and a PhD in nanotechnology and quantum computing, and worked as a clinical medical physics researcher from 2006-2010, a varied career which has led to his interest in the adaptation of ideas from the physical sciences to social sciences. Dr Zaltz Austwick has a strong commitment to public engagement, through visualization, podcasting, blogging, public talks and workshops and social media, and has shared in Radio Academy Gold and Silver Awards. In 2016 he was the winner of the UCL Public Engagement Award for Institutional Leadership, and shared in the 2015 UCL award for Public Event at the UCL Communication and Culture Awards.

Research Summary

Martin Zaltz Austwick works on visualisation and analysis of human data, frequently with a strong spatial component.

Visualising Spatial and Social Systems

His visualisation frequently utilises Processing to create animated visualisations of spatial movement (for example, Bike Share Schemes in a number of cities, GPS tracks drawn from pedestrian movement in London, and shipping movements around the globe). Since 2016, he has been Co-Investigator on the EPSRC FTC2050 project, analysing and visualising freight delivery in central London.

Digital Humanities and Text Analysis

In his role as Associate Director at the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities, Dr Zaltz Austwick works on visualising and analysing spatial data drawn from history, the arts, and other branches of the humanities. He is currently Co-Investigator on the AHRC-funded Survey of London: Whitechapel grant, a project embedding Architectural History in an interactive web map, allowing users to learn about the area and contribute their own stories and accounts.

In 2016, he co-published a corpus text analysis of the REF2014 Impact Case Studies to understand classes of Impact in UK Research, and contributed to a project analysing a large British Library text corpus to find historical trends in the description of trades, disease, and geography.

Teaching Summary

Dr Martin Zaltz Austwick is a Senior Lecturer and Course Director of the Spatial Data Science and Visualisation Masters degree. He currently leads Masters-level modules in Programming for Architecture and Design and co-leads a module in Digital Visualisation, and an undergraduate BASc module in Data Science. He has delivered lectures on Data Visualisation for the Faculty of Engineering and the SEAHA Doctoral Training cohort, and lectures on podcasting for the MAPS faculty.

Martin has delivered external training on Data Visualisation, Podcasting and Mapping for ARUP, the UK Home Office, The British Library and HEFCW, and spoken at the Boring Conference, TEDx LSE, Bright Club, Science Showoff, Pint of Science, SciBar and DorkBot, as well as academic conferences.