Anna Heffernan RESEARCH FELLOW IN FUNDAMENTAL PHYSICS
INSTITUTION ESA SPACE RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY CENTRE - ESTEC NOORDWIJK, THE NETHERLANDS
AGE34
NATIONALITY IRISH

MY MISSION

I guess my job at the moment is looking at any new technologies, or anything that's new, and seeing if there's any relevance to space. Some of the ideas that come up in our group involve a relativistic positioning system. So like GPS but, where GPS just assumes a flat-space, our RPS system assumes that space is curved because that's what Einstein's equations dictate...Another thing I'm involved in is modelling black hole binary systems. So if two black holes come near each other and start to collide, they don't just collide, they tend to go into a very complicated rotating system, and we're involved in modelling some of that.

MY PATH TO SPACE

It all started quite young. I was one of those kids who just wanted to be an astronaut and who looked up at the stars and wanted to go there and found it just amazing. Then as it turned out I was good at maths and physics so that played very well into the idea of actually having a career in space. And yeah, I just kept going through college and picking the courses that I liked and enjoyed and they also happened to be ones that involved space. So I ended up getting a PhD and that opens up a lot of doors, obviously, to carry on your research in the sector.

MY ADVICE TO SPACE GIRLS

I definitely recommend a career in science to girls and women who are thinking about it. Like I said, I had friends who did undergraduate courses who ended up going into accountancy and financing and I know they regret it. They say it all the time when I meet up with them, because you just have this ongoing, exciting world around you all the time, you don't really know where you're going to end up next, what country you're going to live in, who you're going to meet at the next conference, or what results you're going to get...

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© Magda Rakita