Born and bred South African, I grew up in Johannesburg. I did my undergraduate degree in Physics and Maths at Rhodes University, in the Eastern Cape. There, as well as studying, I was very involved in the Astronomy Society and was chairperson in 2009. In 2010, I moved to the University of Cape Town where I did my Honours with the National Astrophysics and Space Science Program (NASSP). Now, I have upgraded my Masters to PhD, supervised by Bruce Bassett from the AIMS Cosmology Group.
What inspired you to study science, and astrophysics?
For as long as I can remember, I was always fascinated with the stars. My father used to tell me about constellations and some science about the stars. From then on, I was hooked by this idea of trying to understand our Universe. This passion for learning has driven me towards science at university. Every time I read an interesting paper or a new book or chat to a fellow scientist, I get inspired all over again.
Do you have a role model in science?
Jocelyn Bell Burnell, because she’s really quite famous for her discovery but she’s also very down to earth and humble, as well as very encouraging.
A quote that inspires you?
“What is now proved was once only imagined”
– William Blake
Still being new to the field, I’m interested in just about everything. I think what drives me most is cosmology. It’s the one field where you can ask the biggest questions, like “how did everything start” and “how does the Universe evolve” which I think is very exciting. I’m also very interested in galaxies and their evolution and I find multiwavelength research fascinating, as it lets you get the whole picture of whatever you’re studying.
A list of all Michelle’s papers can be found here.