The Space industry offers a wide variety of careers and opportunities. You might be surprised at the variety of opportunities across maths, physics, chemistry, engineering and computing.
How do you describe someone who checks his computer first thing every morning to see what the weather is like – not in Malaga, the Canaries or Tenerife – but, the Sun. Strange? Weird? Odd? No, not really. As Science Spin journalist Seán Duke reports, this is just part of the daily work routine for Ireland’s leading academic ‘Sun Worshipper’, TCD astrophysicist, Peter Gallagher.
Today, Peter Gallagher is head of the Solar Physics Group at TCD, working with NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the space industry. He is Ireland’s foremost scientific authority on the Sun, and his group is one of the largest of its kind in Europe. By any measure of success, Peter has been very successful in his career.
So, how did he first get interested in science? Well, like many leading scientists, he didn’t have a single defining moment that made him realise that he wanted to be a scientist. Rather, he remembers always being interested in how things work, from very early in his childhood. Peter’s Dad was a service engineer with Ingersoll Rand, and father and son often working together, taking apart machines in the back garden.
“I was always fascinated by the way things worked,” recalled Peter. “I used to take things apart an awful lot – TVs and radios things like that – and I would work how they worked. I did that when I was in primary school, 10 or so. I was taking things apart around the house and driving my parents mad.”
The young Peter learned quickly, and though he didn’t excel, in an academic sense, while in primary school, he showed glimpses of what he was capable of. “I remember the teacher asked the class how a four-stroke engine worked. I stood up and told the teacher about the four strokes of the engine, intake, compression, fire and exhaust.”
My Science Career Visit Site »
Careers Portal Visit Site »
Irish Space Industry Visit Site »
Careers in the European Space Agency Visit Site »