Australian Science Superheroes – Naomi McClure-Griffiths

During National Science Week in August 2016, Australia’s Chief Scientist launched the #5ScientistPledge to recognise Australian Scientists. Now, we’re shining a light on some of these Australian science superheroes with a new tag – #AusScienceHeroes.

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Professor Naomi McClure-Griffiths, Australian National University (ACT)

1) What is your science superpower?

I wrestle galaxies! I use radio telescopes, such as The Dish and the Australia Telescope Compact Array, to study the structure and life history of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. I’m trying to understand what this galactic home of ours looks like and how it lives its life.

2) The year is 2030. How has life changed as a result of your research?

We now, finally, have a map of the Milky Way. We know where we live, what’s between us and the black hole at the centre, and how far the disk of the galaxy extends. Kids love it and are inspired.

3) What drew you to science in the first place?

We all start out as scientists; I just never stopped! I have always asked questions. What better questions can we ask than 'how does the universe work’ and 'what is our place in it’? My path to astronomy started with a childhood love of the elegance and logic of mathematics.

4) When you’re not wearing your science superhero cape, what do you get up to?

I wear my mum superhero cape! I also spend time running half-marathons and cooking. My latest obsession is producing the perfect loaf of artisanal sourdough bread.

Photo credit: SKA South Africa