Dr Caoimhe Rooney
is a mathematician at NASA that searches for life throughout the
universe by studying distant planets, known as
Following an undergraduate degree in mathematics at Trinity College
Dublin, with a scholarship year at UCLA, Caoimhe achieved a PhD in
Industrially Focused Mathematical Modeling at the University of
In pursuit of her dream to apply her transferrable mathematical
skills within the space sector, Caoimhe was awarded the NASA
Postdoctoral Program fellowship to model the formation and
distribution of clouds in exoplanet atmospheres at NASA Ames
Research Center, California. She continues to work at NASA Ames as
a Research Scientist.
Motivated by the under-representation of women in maths, Caoimhe
an educational outreach initiative with the aim to encourage young
girls to pursue mathematics by making it fun and accessible while
showcasing its many applications.
In today’s show we talk about:
Why GCSE maths is a terrible representation of what the field of
mathematics is really like
How she ended up landing a job at NASA
What it’s like looking billions of years into the past
How the atmosphere of exoplanets can be observed using
Her dreams of becoming an astronaut
Favourite space/maths related movies
And her greatest challenges/successes from the journey so
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