Astrophysicist and science communicator

    Kirsten Banks

    Growing up, Kirsten Banks always had a fascination with the planets and stars. But it wasn’t until her first year studying physics at UNSW that she discovered her passion for the night sky runs in her blood.

    “As soon as I started learning about Aboriginal astronomy, I knew I had to learn more,” says Kirsten. “Bringing together Western and Indigenous science has given me a great perspective on the universe.”

    The budding astrophysicist and science communicator says that UNSW’s physics facilities and high-tech resources caught her eye when she was choosing the best university for her Bachelor of Science degree. While most undergraduates have to wait until after they graduate to sink their teeth into research, UNSW gives students the opportunity to carry out their own experiments while studying.

    “Using top-of-the-line lasers to do your own research is quite incredible as an undergrad,” says Kirsten.

    For her Honours project at UNSW, Kirsten will take a deep dive into the evolution of galaxies, and later she plans to continue her studies with a PhD. But when she isn’t busy exploring the cosmos, Kirsten is also building her skills as a science communicator at Sydney Observatory, home to Australia’s oldest continually working telescope. “The most rewarding thing for me is watching people’s faces light up when they see a planet for the first time,” says Kirsten. “If you stick to what you enjoy, you will never really work a day in your life.” – Gemma Conroy

    To get there: bit.ly/UNSWSciSoc


    This article was produced in partnership with UNSW.

    “As soon as I started learning about Aboriginal astronomy, I knew I had to learn more,” says Kirsten. “Bringing together Western and Indigenous science has given me a great perspective on the universe.”

    Gemma Conroy

    Author: Gemma Conroy

    Gemma is a freelance journalist with a passion for making science accessible to everyone. Gemma has a degree in biology from Macquarie University and loves sharing amazing discoveries with the world.

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