19 November 2013 91 Comments
Katie Mack has been training as a cosmologist since about the age of 10 when she decided she wanted Stephen Hawking’s job. She got her bachelor’s in physics at Caltech, PhD in astrophysics at Princeton, did an STFC postdoctoral fellowship at Cambridge, and is now a DECRA postdoctoral researcher in theoretical astrophysics at the University of Melbourne.
Her work focuses on finding new ways to learn about the early universe and fundamental physics using astronomical observations, probing the very building blocks of nature by examining the cosmos on the largest scales. Throughout her career, she has been working on the interface between astronomy and particle physics, studying dark matter, black holes, cosmic strings, and the formation of the first galaxies in the Universe.
Katie is also an active science communicator, participating in a range of science outreach programs such as Scientists in Schools and Telescopes in Schools. Her popular writing has appeared in Sky & Telescope, Time.com, and the Economist’s “Babbbage” tech blog, among others. She occasionally co-hosts a YouTube astronomy chat series called “Pint in the Sky.”
A couple of years ago, I was gathering my things after a seminar at a top physics research institution when I overheard two of the senior professors discussing a candidate for a senior lectureship.
Professor A was asking Professor B if the candidate had a partner, which might make him less able to move internationally.
Prof B replied, happily: “No, he has no family. He’s perfect!”