Dr Matt Taylor: The tattooed Rosetta project scientist who took Twitter by storm

“Dr Matt Taylor is what every scientist should look like – rad shirt, sleeve tattoos. Rad”

With his brash shirts and brazen tattoos, Matt Taylor is not your typical rocket scientist. However, the Rosetta project scientist from North London – alongside his body art – has proven a hit with the Twitter public who have marvelled over his “cool” attitude.

Not since Brian Cox rocked up with a Beatle haircut and soft northern vowels has a scientist become trended so suddenly over such a short period.

“Dr Matt Taylor is what every scientist should look like – rad shirt, sleeve tattoos. Rad”, tweeted one Twitter enthusiast.

“Matt Taylor causing thousands of people to choke on their cornflakes this morning,” said another Twitter fan having just seen Dr Taylor expose his latest tattoo, a colourful artwork depicting the landing of the probe Philae on his thigh.

Video courtesy of the Open University

“I’m incredibly confident that we’re going to nail this landing. I’m confident enough to have it drawn on my body…that’s my prediction for later today, that we get the lander on the comet,” Dr Taylor told the BBC.

Born in London, the bearded Dr Taylor completed his undergraduate degree in Physics at Liverpool University and then returned to the capital to complete his PhD at Imperial College London.


His career has focused on the measurements of space plasma – the charged particles found in interplanetary space – working in both the US and Europe. He has focused on the energetic interactions between the Sun’s solar wind and the Earth’s magnetic field – the sort of stuff we can see in the form of the aurora borealis, or northern lights.

“The opportunity to work on Rosetta was huge and I cannot begin to describe the excitement associated with this mission. It really is just so cool,” Dr Taylor says on his European Space Agency web site.

“Previous missions have only flown past comets. For the first time we will fly with the comet and actually land on it. The Rosetta mission is a breakthrough in space science and exploration and really demonstrates what international collaboration can achieve,” he said.