Map­ping the way to suc­cess

Canning Times - - FRONT PAGE - Na­dia Budi­hardjo

A WILLETTON as­tro­physi­cist is giv­ing city folk a chance to see the en­tire sky in tech­ni­colour through her re­search in out­back WA.

Natasha Hur­leyWalker had set up a low fre­quency ra­dio te­le­scope in Murchi­son, north­east of Ger­ald­ton, to cre­ate de­tailed maps of the south­ern Aus­tralian sky.

“We took about 10,000 ob­ser­va­tions, pro­cessed them us­ing su­per­com­put­ers and I stitched them to­gether to make a ra­dio map of the en­tire sky,” she said.

“If you tried to do the same thing here in Perth, you wouldn’t be able to see the ra­dio sky at all be­cause there are so many in­ter­fer­ing man-made ra­dio sig­nals.”

For her work with the Murchi­son Wide­field Ar­ray te­le­scope, Dr Hur­ley-Walker was re­cently named among an all-women line up of ABC top five sci­en­tists in 2018.

Dr Hur­ley-Walker hoped the recog­ni­tion of five women would en­hance equal­ity in science, where his­tor­i­cally less women were in se­nior po­si­tions.

“Science is a process of cre­ative risk-tak­ing and learn­ing from fail­ure, and re­search shows women are so­cialised away from this kind of be­hav­iour at an early age,” she said.

Dr Hur­ley-Walker urged high school girls who were as­pir­ing sci­en­tists not to shy away from science as they grew up.

Dr Natasha Hur­ley-Walker with the ra­dio sky map she cre­ated.

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