Space physicist

    Rhea Barnett

    studying physics
    By Susan Hely

    Rhea left high school early and stumbled into science when she enrolled in the University of Newcastle’s Open Foundation course at age 24.

    “I ended up doing physics and thought, ‘This is really cool, I’m going to give it a go’.” Shortly into the course, Rhea bought a telescope – and was hooked.

    Four years on, Rhea is finishing off a Bachelor of Science majoring in physics, and is undertaking an Honours project in collaboration with the University of Newcastle’s Centre for Space Physics.

    She recently returned from a research trip to Antarctica’s Casey base camp, one of four Australian research stations in Antarctica and the Subantarctic.

    There she helped calibrate magnetometers – devices used to measure micro-scale changes in the Earth’s magnetic field.

    Despite hating boats and the cold, Rhea says it was “not the type of opportunity you turn down”.

    Dedicated teachers and supportive science lecturers at the uni helped her immensely. “The academics help you get what you want out of your degree.”

    Rhea now spends around 80% of her time researching, and hopes to continue her work in physics through academia. “There’s always something new to discover to keep things interesting.”

    studying physics

    Open Foundation
    University of Newcastle

    STEM Contributor

    Author: STEM Contributor

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