Hi. My name is Martin Zaltz Austwick. I’m a musician, podcaster, performer, and an Honorary Senior Lecturer in Data Visualisation at University College London. I have a DPhil in carbon nanotubes, fullerenes and quantum computing from Oxford University, and I’m a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts; I work on podcasts which have won British Radio Academy and British Podcast Awards. I took the above photo which is why it looks like the start of an REM video.

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 the British Podcast Award for Review shows in 2017), Brain Train, Global Lab, and The Sound of the Ladies podcast. I’ve written and performed music for the above shows, and for Zig ZagThe Allusionist, The Beef and Dairy Network, Mortified, the Glamour UK podcast, and many 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 to Photosensitizer drugs.

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. I have a  first class physics undergraduate degree, a doctorate in Quantum Computing, carbon nanotubes, and nitrogen-trapping fullerenes, and a postgraduate certificate in teaching for higher and professional education.  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 a Spatial Data Science and Visualisation masters programmes from 2013-2017, and wrote, ran, and taught on masters and undergraduate modules. 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…



I’m a podcast maker from end to end – I create shows, research, interview, host, record, edit, mix, master, and score (see Podcasting Music below). I have particular experience in hosting, producing/mastering, and creating music for podcasts, but I’ve taken on numerous other aspects of the process.

For example, I make music for The Allusionist, but have also provided editorial input for a number of episodes, and in 2018 re-edited over 100 episodes to be suitable for ad injection, and remastered them at a loudness standard (-16LUFS, -2dBTP) specified by the hosts, PRX. I helped to create an automated solution for gapless mp3s to reduce the intrusiveness of injected ads – a solution which the show currently uses. I’ve also researched stories and guests for the show, and cleaned transcripts.

I produce and co-host Song by Song (2015-, co-founded with Sam Pay), Winner of a 2017 British Podcast Award, which discusses every Tom Waits song in chronological order. Our guests have included Jon Ronson, Phoebe Judge, Jon Hodgman, Jeffrey Cranor, Simon Stephens and David Shrubsole.

I’m music director, live engineer, and comedy sidekick/science nerd on question-answering 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 UK Sony/Radio Academy Awards and has tens of thousands of regular listeners, making us one of the most successful independent podcasts in the UK.

I created, and do everything for, Year of the Bird (2019, formerly The Sound of The Ladies 2007-2017) podcast, which features a song I’ve recorded (and usually, written) every episode. For this I compose, host and do all of the production.

I co-created, produced and alternatively hosted Brain Train (2012-2016, co founded with Alice Bell).  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.

I co-created and exec produced Global Lab (2011-2017, co-founded with Steven Gray), a show themed around complexity, technology, and cities. I planned, scripted, hosted, and co-ordinated most episodes of the show, as well as carrying out interviews with academics and scientists.

I was engineer and composer on the Bright Club Podcast (2010-2011). This span out from the Bright Club live events, and featured a comedian interviewing academics about their areas of expertise – science communication, but also humanities and the arts.

I’ve also guested on The Wire Stripped, Scientists Not the Science, Twenty Thousand HertzFlixwatcher, Getting Better Acquainted, Bright ClubThe Bugle [briefly], and Jordan, Jesse Go! [VERY briefly].

Podcast Music

I have been composing and recording music and song for podcasts since 2007, most recently:

  • I composed the music for Veronica Mars Investigation (2019-), apart from a little bit that the wonderful Jenny Owen Youngs wrote.
  • I write the music for the Zoom podcast (since 2019) –  a movie podcast which focuses on a different genre each episode, so the theme song has iterated through spaghetti western, 50s scifi, zombie movie, and soon, classical!
  • 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 listen to a lot more I’ve made here: https://lnns.co/f35SebFIYtE

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

Live Podcast Music and Performance

  • The Allusionist Live (US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand, 2017-2019) ; composer, musician, performer, tour manager and writer on show.
  • Radio Diaries – Dropped Wrench with Joe Richman (Hearsay Audio Festival, 2019); composer and musician.
  • The Bugle (US, 2018); arranger and musician.
  • Radiotopia Live (US, 2018); musician in house band.
  • Third Coast International Audio Awards (Chicago, USA, 2017); composer, MD and musician.
  • 99% Allusional (with 99% Invisible and The Allusionist, USA, 2017); composer and musician.

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 – I’m midway through releasing 40 songs written in 2018 while I travelled around the world. It’s called Year of The Bird:

Ten Things Which Aren’t Love was released in late 2017:

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/


Training, talks, and videos

Podcast teaching and training

  • Founder and lead of Podcast Maker Weekend at the London Podcast Festival (2017-2019)
  • Taught two workshops on podcasting for BIMM London’s Music Journalism BA (March 2019).
  • Down With Marimba at Hearsay audio festival, Kilfinane, Ireland, April 2019
  • Under the Hood with the Allusionist, Audiocraft 2019, Sydney, Australia
  • 10 Years of Podbiz with Helen Zaltzman and Martin Zaltz Austwick, PRX Podcast Garage, Boston, USA, 2017
  • Podcasting for scientists, lecture class, University College London (2015-2017).

University Teaching

I have a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher and Professional Education from the University of London’s Institute of Education, and worked as Senior Lecturer in Spatial Data Science and Visualisation in the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at UCL (June 2011 – September 2017) teaching and designing and running modules and a masters degrees I have teaching experience going back to running Physics tutorials during my doctorate (2002), and have been regularly teaching lecture courses to undergraduates and graduates since 2008.

Previous research interests

Here are some useful links for finding out more about my research:

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 from 2009:

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


RadioNet is a collaboration with Nina Garthwaite of In The Dark, a curated listening event. RadioNet visualises a network of recommendation and creation, centred around audio producers – it’s a work in progress (at time of writing in November 2018), and we are hoping it can be used in education, navigation and discovery. Check it out here and give us your feedback!

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Screenshot 2018-10-26 15.24.50

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 (this one from February 2018):



Visualisation of Dijkstra’s Algorithm


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


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 nine 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. His podcast about every Tom Waits song is called Song by Song.

Music/Podcasting Short Bio

Martin Austwick is a musician and singer-songwriter (Pale Bird, Martin Austwick, Dr Martin Austwick), and podcaster (Song by Song, Answer Me This!). He has written and performed music for many podcasts and live shows including The Allusionist, 99% Invisible and the Third Coast International Audio Awards.

<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, ZigZag, Zoom and many more. Martin is the founder and lead curator of the Podcast Maker Weekend (2017-) as part of the London Podcast Festival.  He’s recorded nine albums and several EPs of original songs as Pale Bird, (Dr) Martin Austwick and The Sound of The Ladies.

<100 words (academic/training):

Martin Zaltz Austwick is a specialist in podcasting, audio, 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.






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