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Rebecca Smethurst

Astrophysicist and Science Communicator

Rebecca Smethurst

I am a researcher at the University of Oxford where I am trying to figure out how extremely big black holes can stop stars being born. We think this is even happening in our own galaxy the Milky Way!

To do this, I get to go to telescopes on the top of mountains and use them to look at how many stars are being born in galaxies with and without big black holes. This is the favourite part of my job!

I have used telescopes in Hawaii, the Canary Islands and California to collect data to do my science. The biggest of these telescopes is 10 meters (or 33 feet) across, which is a lot bigger than the 5 cm (2 inch) telescope I used to look at the Moon when I was little!

Instead of looking at the Moon, I now look at things in the sky that you can’t see with your eyes, to try and figure out the secrets of the Universe.

Check out Dr Becky’s Youtube Channel for brilliant videos like the one below, explaining why we have probably been measuring our weight incorrectly all along!

I love being a scientist because...

I get to figure out the answers to questions which no one knows the answer to.

The most awesome thing I have done so far is...

Used a telescope on the top of a 4000m tall mountain in Hawaii.

My heroes are...

Vera Rubin – she discovered Dark Matter by studying galaxies.

Advice I would give my 7 year old self...

Don’t listen to people when they tell you that you can’t do something-you can do anything you set your mind to do.

At primary school my favourite thing to do was...

Go swimming! It’s still my favourite thing to do.



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