UC Science Radio Season 2: Episode 10

Rosemary Dorsey: Inspiring the astro-curious

uc science radio ep10 rosemary dorsey

As a Year-13 student, Rosemary Dorsey’s interest in our solar system was ignited by an outreach event she attended at UC. Now studying towards a PhD in astronomy, she’s returning the favour.

Rosemary’s research focuses on solar system science and characterizing small body populations. She also engages in science outreach to inspire other students to study physics. Hear about her fascinating field and how she’s fostering a new generation of astrophysicists in this episode of UC Science Radio.

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In this episode

0.47 My PhD research that I started working on last July is on planetary science, which means small rocky objects like the planets in our solar system, but actually our solar system contains more than just eight planets

1.28 by finding out more about what's in our solar system, we can figure out how it actually got there.

1.54 what we have today are remnants of what the solar system formed from. But the different properties of the objects we have left show us how the solar system evolved.

3.08 one of the big, exciting upcoming surveys is the Legacy of Space and Time Survey (LSST), which is a telescope based in Chile, and it's going to do a ten year survey and it's supposed to find about 10 to 500 times as many objects, of different types of objects, in our solar system.

3.44 The main thing I find interesting is just how much we can figure out from where we are… lots of the stuff we look at in astronomy is so far from the Earth, we can't ever possibly touch it. All we're doing is looking at it from afar, and we can find out so much about stuff.

4.28 In 2014, in my thirteenth year, year 13 of high school, I went on the Aurora astronomy school, which is run by UC every year, and we got to go to Mt. John and look at the telescopes, and we got some lectures at the University of Canterbury.

5.03 And so that inspired me to do astronomy, and the last couple of years, I've been able to a student assistant on the Aurora school camp, now that I'm a postgraduate student. It's now called the Elaine P. Snowden Astronomy Camp

6.27 I remember going to a lecture from the director of JPL, he came to New Zealand and he was giving a public lecture, and I thought "that sounds interesting, I’ll take my dad with me.” So we went to this lecture, and he explained the massive engineering feat of landing a rover on Mars

7.39 I was really inspired by that, and then I went home and was telling everyone I could about it. And my parents had this book in their house called The Planets by Dava Sobel, and so I picked that up and started reading it.

8.38 So a PhD is supposed to be a unique contribution to your field, so in order to get a PhD I have to do that.

Read a transcript of the full interview.

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Meet our speakers

rosemary dorsey

Rosemary Dorsey

Rosemary Dorsey is a PhD student studying astronomy. Her research focuses on solar system science and characterizing small body populations. She also engages in science outreach to inspire other students to study physics.

“I enjoy understanding physical concepts and being able to rationalise different physical situations, and then also being able to explain to my peers how they work."

Molly Magid

Molly Magid

Molly Magid is an MSc student at UC. A recent graduate of Brown University, Molly is working on research in conservation genomics with Associate Professor Tammy Steeves from the School of Biological Sciences. Molly is passionate about finding ways to communicate science to the public in a clear, novel, and engaging ways. Most recently, Molly worked as the lead student producer on the podcast Possibly, which answers listener's questions about sustainability using relevant science research.