Dr Tim Cockerill is a zoologist, circus performer, broadcaster and photographer
Tim specialises in communicating science and natural history to a wide range of audiences. With particular expertise in the smaller examples of animal life – especially insects and their relatives – there’s no shortage of inspiration.
Tim is also a collector of curious objects, skills and interests. Follow the curiosities link to find out about Tim’s collection of obscurities.
I was born, bred, and buttered in Hull, Yorkshire, UK.
As a boy I graduated from the standard-issue Paul Daniels Magic Set and won my first magic competition at the age of 11. Soon after that I decided that traditional conjuring was all too commonplace. Instead, I branched out into the allied arts and decided to become a fire eater, much to the delight of my parents. This sparked (pun intended) a lifelong fascination with strange and obscure acts and exhibits, many of which I now perform.
Meanwhile, after school, I was filling my bedroom with a large collection of exotic pets, from snakes and scorpions to tarantulas and assassin bugs. Despite making me a bit of an animal expert, this also proved (unexpectedly to me) to be an extremely effective way of deterring interest from the opposite sex. Thankfully this no longer seems to be the case, and although I still share my home with a small menagerie that includes leaf insects and a fishbowl of medicinal leeches, I also live with my lovely girlfriend.
My interest in animals, particularly insects, led to a first-class degree in Zoology and a research masters degree with distinction at the University of Leeds, then a PhD in Insect Ecology and Biodiversity at the University of Cambridge. This was followed by post-doctoral research at the Natural History Museum in London. After several years hacking through the wildly inspiring but inhospitable environments of Borneo and Cambridge, I decided that communicating the incredible science and natural history I’m involved with was a good thing to do. Because of this, and not happy with just three degrees, I gained a masters with distinction in Science Media Production from Imperial College London.
I’m now based in London where I pine for green things. I also produce and present various forms of science media, perform at live events, and act as consultant and ‘animal wrangler’ for TV.