She's an Astronomer: Hannah Hutchins
Hannah Hutchins lives in England with her Grandmother and her hamster, “Hubble”. At just 15, she’s by far the youngest entrant in our “She’s an Astronomer” series, providing us with some perspective from the next generation of astronomers. Hannah is homeschooled and currently studying for her IGCSEs. As well as being a frequent contributor to the forum, she is the co-creator of the Galaxy Zoo APOD. As well as Galaxy Zoo she’s involved in all sorts of astronomy projects, including the Young Astronomers blog.
- How did you first hear about Galaxy Zoo?
On the BBC News Website in August 2008. I read an article about Hanny’s Voorwerp and when they mentioned Galaxy Zoo I was immediately interested! I went onto the website and was hooked from then onwards.
- What has been your main involvement in the Galaxy Zoo project?
- What do you like most about being involved in Galaxy Zoo?
Knowing that I’m helping science. It’s fantastic because I don’t have to be an adult in university doing astrophysics or something to be able to contribute to science like this. It has also turned my interest in astronomy into a passion and I could never live without it. I’m now determined to go to university to study astrophysics. It’s also great to be part of such a friendly community! I finally found friends at the zoo who shared my interests.
- What do you think is the most interesting astronomical question Galaxy Zoo will help to solve?
There are so many to choose from! I have a soft spot for the Voorwerpjes though, It’s amazing how AGN (active galactic nuclei) belt out all that radiation which then ionize huge gas clouds, it creates some spectacular images.
- How/when did you first get interested in Astronomy?
My earliest memory of having an interest in astronomy was sitting on my bed when I was around four years old flicking through an astronomy book called ‘Spacewatching: The ultimate guide to the stars and beyond’, I remember staring in wonder at pictures of nebulae and reading aloud the titles in the book. My grandparents bought it for me at a sale along with a book about Comets after I pestered them for them. I think those where my very first astronomy books.
- What (if any) do you think are the main barriers to women’s involvement in Astronomy?
I’m not really sure, but I know from my experience of school (though rather a short experience, I only lasted a couple of terms in secondary school for instance because I wasn’t happy with the education I was getting) that there is sometimes an attitude where it is bad to have an interest in science and maths, they have to be viewed as so very boring. I think that is because it’s taught so badly at school, it shuts down any interest.
- Do you have any particular role models in Astronomy?
There are so many fantastic people in astronomy, but I don’t really have a role model.
This post is part of the ongoing She’s an Astronomer series on the Galaxy Zoo Blog is support of the IYA2009 cornerstone project of the same name (She’s an Astronomer). We are listed on the She’s an Astronomer website in their Profiles.
- Hanny Van Arkel (Galaxy Zoo volunteer and finder of Hanny’s Voorwerp). Hanny’s interview in het Nederlands.
- Alice Sheppard (Galaxy Zoo volunteer and forum moderator).
- Gemma Couglin (“fluffyporcupine”, Galaxy Zoo volunteer and forum moderator).
- Aida Berges (Galaxy Zoo volunteer – major irregular galaxy, asteroid and high velocity star finder). Entrevista de Aida en español.
- Julia Wilkinson (“jules”, Galaxy Zoo volunteer. Frequent forum poster, and member of irregular and HVS projects).
- Els Baeton (“ElisabethB”, Galaxy Zoo folunteer. Frequent forum poster, and member of most of the spin-off projects!). Els’s interview in het Nederlands.
- Dr. Vardha Nicola Bennert (researcher at UCSB involved in Hanny’s Voorwerp followup and the “peas” project). Vardha’s Interview auf Deutsch.
- Carie Cardamone (graduate student at Yale who lead the Peas paper).
- Dr. Kate Land (original Galaxy Zoo team member and first-author of the first Galaxy Zoo scientific publication; now working in the financial world).
- Dr. Karen Masters (researcher at Portsmouth working on red spirals, and editor of this blog series.)
- Dr. Pamela L. Gay (astronomy researcher and communicator based at Southern Illinois University).
- Anna Manning (Masters’ Degree Student in Astronomy at Alabama University working with Dr. Bill Keel on overlapping galaxies)
Still to come in the series – a few more Galaxy Zoo volunteers and researchers. We’re not quite done yet!