Martin observing

Hi. My name is Martin Zaltz Austwick. I’m an academic, musician, podcaster and occasional visual artist.

In my academic life, I teach data visualisation and form generation using the Processing programming language, as well as acting as Course Director on our MRes in Advanced Spatial Analysis and Visualisation and lecturing on communication skills. I work at the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis and am interested in visualisation, computational modelling and networks. I’m active in public engagement, and am regularly to be found giving public talks, chairing Cafe Scientifique events, or running podcasts aimed at sharing ideas from science and academia.

By night, 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 write, record and perform song about science under my own name and songs about not-science as The Sound of The Ladies.

This is a good site to get an overview of some things I do. If you want to hear about my various lives, here are some useful links:

I work at a centre called CASA in the Bartlett Faculty of The Built Environment at UCL. Sociable Physics is the name of my academic blog, and @SociablePhysics is my academic twitter account.

The Sound of The Ladies is where I keep my music at the moment, and I tweet at @MartinAustwick when not talking about academic things.

You can read about the podcasts I do below.


I lecture in the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at UCL. 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:

Nowadays, I work on data visualisation, and have done work on bike share schemes, especially the one in London. Here is a visualisation of several months of data, mapped onto one day:

Here’s another showing the GPS track and photos from a walk Steph Hugel and I did in May 2012, based partly on the narrative of Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s From Hell:

I blog about academia, complexity and visualisation at http://sociablephysics.com, and you can see a lot more of these visualisations on my vimeo channel: https://vimeo.com/sociablephysics


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.

Not long afterwards I started The Sound of The Ladies podcast, where I record and release a song every month. Obviously I wrote the theme tune for this.

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 academic 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.

I also wrote the theme music for the Sound Women podcast.

Write the theme tune, sing the theme tune


I write songs and sing them in recordings and public, if only there were a hypenate for that. I sometimes make videos of my music, like this one for “10,000 Letters of Love”:

(This took ages, you can find more about it, and more videos on my blog). This is the  album it was taken from, 2012’s The City of Gold and Lead:

In 2014, I released this album of songs written for live gigs over the preceding couple of years:

You can listen to more music, see news of any upcoming gigs, and see more videos at http://thesoundoftheladies.com.


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 lovely boilerplate here, and some lovely photos below:

100 words (academic):

Martin Zaltz Austwick is a Lecturer in data visualization, analysis and programming at the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) at UCL. He has visualised urban data and networks through animation, mapping, and interactive software tools. He has published work  on network analyses of bicycle flows in cities across the world, and is interested in the use of GPS to map walking routes through London, literary geographies, and the science of cities. Dr Zaltz Austwick’s background is in nanotechnology and quantum computing, with experience as a medical laser physicist, leading to a multidisciplinary approach to his work and teaching.

100 words (public events):

Martin Zaltz Austwick is a Lecturer in data visualization and programming at the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) at UCL, with an interest in cities and networks, having previously studied Quantum Physics and worked as a Medical Laser Physicist. 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.

You can find his blog at sociablephysics.com, or follow him on twitter @sociablephysics.

From the CASA website:


Dr Martin Zaltz Austwick lectures in advanced spatial analysis and visualization. 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 and social media, and has shared in Radio Academy Gold and Silver Awards.

Research Summary

Martin Zaltz Austwick works on visualisation and analysis of human data, often with a strong spatial component. 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). In analysis of these patterns, he employs spatial interaction modelling and network techniques to determine patterns of activity and connections within systems. He’s also interested in working with spatial databases to facilitate analysis and visualisation in large data sets, scaling and inequality in complex systems, and creating interactive visualisations around agent-based modelling. In his role as an 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.