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Dr Tana Joseph

Royal Society Newton International Research Fellow, Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, University of Manchester

 

And - Founder and Director, science communication and consulting company - AstroComms

You are enough.

What do you do?

I study black holes and neutron stars in galaxies outside our own. I look at the different types of light, like X-rays, radio waves and infrared, emitted by these objects to study the way they form, evolve and shape the environment around them. The information we get from these black holes and neutron stars help us to understand how stars, galaxies and even planets form. 

Why did you choose this field?

I have always liked science and finding out how the world works. When I was 11 my local newspaper would print Hubble Space Telescope legacy images on their front page, regardless of what the lead story actually was. I was captivated by these beautiful images. I couldn't believe that they were being used to do science. From then on I knew that I wanted to be an astronomer.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

Traveling around the world for work. I have lived in three different countries, and visited many more, because of my job. I have had the opportunity to go see Beyonce in concert and spend a day at Disneyland. These are all things I never dreamed would be possible for me growing up in Cape Town in the 90s.

Why do you love working in STEM?

"I love working with people from all over the world solving the mysteries of the Universe."

I am looking forward to working with data from the two best radio telescopes in the world, one of which is in South Africa. These two telescopes have very recently started producing data and I am extremely excited to be able to using these cutting edge observations of galaxies, stars and other awesome objects in the sky to do my research.

Best advice for the next generation

You are enough. People are going to tell you are not good enough, or that you need to change to fit their idea of what someone in STEM should be. Don't listen to them. Find people who support you and understand that being different is awesome. 

Fun fact

I love Pokemon Go! I really like the fire type Pokemon, with Charmander as my absolute fave.