Chasing fireballs and the evolution of our solar system with Professor Gretchen Benedix

18 Feb 2024 • 52 min • EN
52 min
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We've spoken about indirect career paths, but Professor Gretchen Benedix calls hers the pinball method, starting on a course that could change direction when she strikes something that she'd like to delve more into. This method has served Gretchen well and has given her opportunities to work with Dr Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, chase fireballs over the desert, hunt meteorites in Antarctica, and even get an asteroid named after her. Join us as we speak with Gretchen about her journey to astrogeology, discovering how the solar system evolved, and the Desert Fireball Network. About Professor Gretchen Benedix  Gretchen Benedix is a Professor (and former Australian Research Council Future Fellow) in the School of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Curtin University. She is also a member of the Space Science and Technology Centre, the largest research group dedicated to Planetary Science in the southern hemisphere. She is a fierce STEM and Women in Science advocate and takes her responsibility as a role model very seriously. She uses her work to inspire young people and pass along her passion for understanding our Solar System. Gretchen's research interests lie in the study of meteorites to understand and unravel the evolution of the Solar System. She and her team are currently interested in using machine learning techniques to extend our ability to interact with big datasets, specifically looking at the numbers of craters on other planetary surfaces. Gretchen wants to understand how the Earth fits into the history of the Solar System. … And also, she loves rocks… Gretchen has a broad educational background in Geology, Engineering, and Physics, which lets her pull together multidisciplinary ideas to unravel the mysteries of the rocks. She also loves science communication and has had the opportunity to work at two world-class museums as a planetary scientist, cosmic mineralogist, and astro-geologist, where Gretchen had the pleasure of sharing what she does --- It's just one of the many aspects of her job that she loves - to be able to get other people, especially young folks, excited about studying our solar system and our place in it. Show Notes (link) [00:01:38] How one gets an asteroid named after them. [00:04:56] Gretchen's journey began in psychology. [00:06:52] The transition from psychology to physics was not smooth sailing. [00:08:29] The slow drift into space and getting hooked on rocks. [00:11:35] The beauty of geology. [00:16:19] Being flexible gives you the space to be open to opportunities. [00:18:34] Looking to space because you can't look inside the Earth. [00:22:41] Comparative planetology and looking at our system in context. [00:26:49] Context and time scales. [00:28:59] The engineering in space travel. [00:32:48] The Desert Fireball Network.  [00:36:42] Location, location, location. [00:38:31] Tying it back to their origins and the solar system. [00:40:35] Meteorite families. [00:43:47] Surprising learnings so far. [00:46:47] The two-body problem. Connect with STEAM Powered Website | YouTube | Facebook | Instagram | <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer"...

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