Adaeze Ibik is an Astrophysicist working on very bright explosions in the universe known as supernovae and fast radio bursts. She is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Toronto and is interested in contributing to the answers to humanity’s most-arching questions of existence through her research using the tool of radio astronomy. Due to her passion for astronomy education, she is an active educator and a science outreach program facilitator in different parts of Africa and Canada. She is also passionate about community development and social equity, especially for the African girl child. If you don’t find her talking about astronomy, then she is probably cooking, making jokes, or helping out someone. We reached out to her in 2023 to learn more about her. Enjoy discovering this enterprising space professional.
1. How would you describe your current occupation (what and where)?
I am a Ph.D. candidate and teaching assistant at the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, at the University of Toronto. My research topic includes studying peculiar explosions (very luminous supernova and fast radio bursts) in the universe using radio colors of light produced by them to understand their nature and origin.
2. How did you become what you are? Can you describe your journey leading to your career?
I studied Physics for my undergraduate degree at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria, where I first learned about astronomy as a discipline. I developed an interest in astronomy after taking an introductory course in my final year of undergraduate studies. Out of excitement, I started engaging in astronomy outreaches and workshops. This exposure made me register for a Master’s in Physics where I specialized in Astrophysics. I then moved to Toronto for my Ph.D. afterward.
3. What or who inspired you to explore space exploration the way you have?
After learning about the Physics of many events around me through the introductory course on astronomy that I took during my undergraduate studies, I became curious about understanding my environment and the Universe the more. However, I have realized that the more I have this understanding, the more my unanswered questions increase. Curiosity and pursuit of knowledge landed me here!
4. What would you say to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
Identify your passion and make the commitment to fulfill it if that is what you want. It takes a lot of effort to be diligent but you will be happy that you did afterward.
5. Share a fun fact about yourself!
I don’t know if it’s fun or not but I want to be a business mogul. I came from a tribe in Nigeria where we are naturally business oriented. It is still a part of my life goals.
6. Is there something you still want to do or learn that you haven’t done yet in your career?
I want to reach a broader audience especially African women with the astronomy message to increase their awareness of their environment. Human capacity building in STEM using astronomy as a tool and targeted towards women especially is one of my overarching desire.
7. Is there a particular folklore tale that celebrates your culture and heritage and the night sky? We’d love to share that with our audience.
Moonlight storytelling at night is a tradition of the Igbo tribe of Nigeria where we use the moon as a source of light in the dark while telling stories. When there is a Full moon, it signifies good things coming our way and sometimes the birth of a child that will be a king in the future.
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