Motivational Journeys – a new video series from EPEC
October 21, 2019

Motivational Journeys – a new video series from EPEC

The EPEC Diversity Working Group is made up of young researchers and scientists who come from diverse environments and cultures. However, we all have one thing in common: we all grew up hearing about how humankind landed on the Moon and this has helped motivate us to pursue a full time career in the field of planetary science. These stories have not only inspired millions of people from the generations that have followed, but also taught us what a diverse team of scientists can achieve by working towards one goal. 

This is a very special year for planetary sciences as we mark not only 50 years since the Apollo 11 Moon landing but the award of the Nobel Prize for Physics to Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz for the first discovery of an exoplanet orbiting sun-like star.  

To celebrate, we are launching new video series ‘Inspiring Journeys’. In this series, we will be interviewing experienced scientists from various backgrounds and ask them to share personal stories about their early days, their motivation and how they got through tough times successfully. 

We hope that after hearing about their journey, young scientists and researchers in our community will feel motivated to push the boundaries themselves. 

Motivational Journeys – Episode 1: Rosaly Lopes Gautier

The first interview in our series is with Rosaly Lopes Gautier, planetary volcanologist at JPL-NASA, who takes us through her career from her earliest inspirations:

“I have wanted to work in astronomy since I was a little kid. My interest started because I followed the Apollo programme since I was quite young and I wanted to go to the Moon, I wanted to become an astronaut. But, I realised that I was female and nearly all the astronauts at that time were male. I was Brazilian and there were no Brazilian astronauts and I had very bad eyesight and that was a no-no. So I decided that maybe the best thing would be to become a scientist and to work for NASA.”

Rosaly started off working on Mars and went on to be involved in the Galileo mission, leading observations of Io:

At the beginning of the mission, one of my colleagues said, “Do you think that you are going to discover a new hot spot hat’s an active volcano on Io?” And I said, well, “If I’m very lucky…” And by the end of the mission, I had found 71. And it was very funny that it eventually got me in the Guinness Book of World Records, which I never thought that I would be in.

Rosaly’s advice to early career researchers is to have determination and to do the thing you love:

“So, the most important thing if you really want to do it – and you really have to want to do it – is that you don’t give up. You keep going. And everyone is going to have papers criticised, proposals rejected and also don’t take it personally.

“They key thing is that you really have to love what you do to put up with the boring days and the tough times and the times when you have to deal with a lot of administration. So it’s the determination, but that comes from love of what you do. You have to be passionate about it. And whatever your passion is in life you have to follow it, and then you are going to be happy.”

The next Motivational Journey will be published in November.