Armin Schmitt is a father of two, a dinosaur enthusiast, and a PhD student at the Department of Earth Sciences. His first book, Grossartige Giganten or ‘Magnificent Giants’, has just been published in Germany and will be coming to the UK soon. We caught up with him to discuss the book and his passion for palaeontology.
Armin has held several positions in the field of palaeontology, including collections manager at the University of Bonn and a research assistant at the University of Oxford. After arriving in Cambridge in 2020, he set up his own YouTube channel, Lisa, Max & T.Rex, with the aim of taking his passion to the general public. This caught the attention of the German news journal Der Spiegel, which in turn led to the publication of Grossartige Giganten.
‘When I started my PhD in Cambridge, I started posting videos about dinosaurs on YouTube in an effort to do public outreach and to share fun facts about my favorite topic. In some videos I let my children assist me and they enjoyed that very much. The channel has caught the attention of the German news journal Der Spiegel and they did an interview about me online and in their print magazine. This article has caught the attention of my publisher DTV (German Paperback Publisher) who thought that I was a good science communicator. We negotiated a deal and the rest is history…’
Published this year, Grossartige Giganten is a book that aims to capture the imagination of both children and adults. In it, Armin gives a first-hand account of the latest research, as well as recounting spectacular expeditions and surprising finds. The Tyrannosaurus rex is, of course, covered, but so are several lesser-known creatures.
‘The book is a popular science book about dinosaurs and other reptiles of the Mesozoic. It is for anyone (12+) who is interested in dinosaurs and wants to learn about amazing new research, previously not discussed in any popular science book, and who wants to understand how we know what we know about these amazing creatures. It is an accessible science book for a broad audience written by a dinosaur fan-boy but also a book about the effects of climate change on Earth’s fauna and flora.’
A passion for palaentology
For Armin, his love for dinosaurs goes far beyond his own research. He’s passionate about sharing his own knowledge and experiences, as well as research from across the field. He regularly posts on his YouTube channel, Instagram account and TikTok, all with the aim of bringing palaeontology to a wider audience.
‘I think it is important for every scientist to share their research with the public and help them understand why science and research are important. If my passion and my enthusiasm for science and dinosaurs will spark the interest of any teenager to pursue a career in academia or to become a scientist, I will have accomplished my goal.’
Grossartige Giganten is now available in paperback or digital in any major book store, as well as on Amazon or other online book shops. The audiobook version will be released on 7 July 2023. The English version will be released in the autumn of 2024 – watch this space!
Read more from Armin on his social media accounts: