60 seconds with… Tayyaba Zafar


Dr Tayyaba Zafar is an astronomer working in the new Australian Astronomical Optics (AAO) team at Macquarie. We checked in with her to talk telescopes and all things interstellar.

I’ve been at Macquarie for…
Three months.

In a nutshell, my job is to…
Work on building instruments used for telescopes and perform research on the interstellar medium to study gas, metals and dust in galaxies.

The question I get asked most is…
“How is interstellar dust formed?”

(Find out the answer in The Lighthouse.)

The top three things on my to-do list today are…
1) Finish a grant proposal for the Ultimate-Subaru telescope project.
2) Work on an ARC Future fellowship application.
3) Write an observing proposal for the European Southern Observatory telescopes.

Name a Macquarie staff member that impressed you last week…
Dr Katrina Sealey [AAO’s Head of Research Data and Software] for supporting women in STEM.

Where are you from?
I was born in Pakistan and did my Masters in Physics there. I did my PhD in Astrophysics in Denmark, a postdoc in France and a fellowship in Germany with the European Southern Observatory. Almost three years ago I moved to Australia to work with the AAO, which recently become part of Macquarie.

The most amazing place I’ve ever visited is…
The European Southern Observatory, a series of Very Large Telescopes in the Atacama Desert in Chile.

Image: Miguel Claro / ESO


I’m really looking forward to…
A trip to Antarctica as part of Homeward Bound 2019, a year-long project to develop leadership and strategic capabilities in women in science.






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