Dr Becky Smethurst

Becky Smethurst credit Angel Li

Dr Becky Smethurst is an award-winning astrophysicist and science communicator.

She is based at the University of Oxford, where her specialism is in how galaxies evolve together with their supermassive black holes. In 2022, she was awarded the Royal Astronomical Society’s Research Fellowship.

Her YouTube channel, Dr Becky, has over 675,000 subscribers and engages 2 million viewers each month with her videos on weird objects in space, the history of science and monthly recaps of space news. Her social media channels bring science to the general public in an engaging way.

With science journalist Izzie Clarke, Becky presents The Supermassive Podcast in association with the Royal Astronomical Society. It is the number one astronomy podcast in the UK, receiving tens of thousands of listens every month.

She regularly appears on national television and radio to explain the latest space news stories and has featured as an expert on the BBC’s The Sky at Night. Her critically acclaimed book, A Brief History of Black Holes, reached number 27 on Amazon’s worldwide book charts.

Author photo credit: Angel Li

Links & Credits

The Supermassive Podcast

Royal Astronomical Society


A Brief History of Black Holes

Dr Becky Smethurst

A Brief History of Black Holes cover Becky Smethurst

In A Brief History of Black Holes, award-winning University of Oxford researcher Dr Becky Smethurst charts five hundred years of scientific breakthroughs in astronomy and astrophysics. 

Right now, you are orbiting a black hole.

The Earth orbits the Sun, and the Sun orbits the centre of the Milky Way: a supermassive black hole, the strangest and most misunderstood phenomenon in the galaxy.

In this cosmic tale of discovery, Dr Becky Smethurst takes us from the earliest observations of the universe and the collapse of massive stars, to the iconic first photographs of a black hole and her own published findings.

She explains why black holes aren’t really ‘black’, that you never ever want to be ‘spaghettified’, how black holes are more like sofa cushions than hoovers and why, beyond the event horizon, the future is a direction in space rather than in time.

Told with humour and wisdom, this captivating book describes the secrets behind the most profound questions about our universe – all hidden inside black holes.

‘A fantastic read’

— Popular Mechanics

‘A jaunt through space history… with charming wit and many pop-culture references’

— BBC Sky At Night Magazine