Astropanda.space: Valuable Tips from an Expert In Astrophysics For Newbie Students
Pursuing a career in astrophysics is no easy feat. It takes years of studying, researching, and number crunching to attain a commendable position in the field. We spoke with Nathalie Ouellette, a PhD in astrophysics, to talk about her inspiration to start astropanda.space and to share valuable tips with students currently pursuing astrophysics and space science. Read on!
What inspired you to start astropanda.space? Tell us the story.
At the time, I was wrapping up my Ph.D. in astrophysics and I knew I was going to hit the market soon (postdoc or otherwise).
It’s common practice for scientists to make a personal webpage at this point in their careers so potential employers can find them online.
And so, I decided to make my website and populate it with info about myself and my work.
Could you share some relevant and helpful magazines on space, science, and astronomy?
“Nature” and “Science” are both very well-ranked scientific publications that usually have shorter (4 pages instead of 30) articles of particularly important scientific significance. For more general public, I’d say “Astronomy” and “Sky and Telescope” are the two biggest ones that come to mind.
What are some valuable tips you’d like to share with newbie space enthusiasts looking to kickstart their career in astrophysics and space science?
I think the most important quality for any scientist, including astronomers, is curiosity. We’re all just striving to answer big questions and it can be very difficult to do so, our curiosity is what drives us to overcome challenges in the field.
Astronomy is also a very collaborative field, so learning to work with others and accept when you were wrong or at least not entirely right is very important. From a practical point of view, astronomy is really just math and physics applied to celestial objects, so getting a solid foundation in that coursework is essential.
Modern astronomy also consists of an incredible amount of data processing, so learning how to code is now very important. Astronomers with a penchant for hands-on work can also get very far enhancing their engineering skills and making a career out of building instruments and telescopes.
If you want to be a professor or high-level researcher, a Ph.D. is usually necessary which means a lot of schooling, so liking school is a plus! And, to get through grad school, I’d say it’s important to be very self-motivated because there aren’t always many external factors pushing you along.
What are your future plans for the astropanda.space?
I hope to keep my website up-to-date with all my latest info. I’m really hoping to be able to post on my blog more regularly, but I’m finding it hard to find the time. Hopefully that will change in the future.
Why did you choose a .SPACE domain? How is it helping you develop a unique online brand?
As an astronomer, using a .space domain seemed like an obvious choice! And it makes my website more memorable.