Caoimhe Rooney at Nasa
Caoimhe Rooney

Podcast | Caoimhe Rooney

On NASA, exoplanet atmospheres & making maths fun

Dr Caoimhe Rooney is a mathematician at NASA and searches for life throughout the universe by studying distant planets, known as exoplanets.

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 Oxford.

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 also co-founded Mathematigals, 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 this episode we find out 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 light

  • Her dreams of becoming an astronaut

  • Favourite space/maths related movies

  • And her greatest challenges/successes from the journey so far

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