Pupils from Craigour Park Primary School in Edinburgh interviewed some of our staff and PhD students about their research. In this article, they quiz PhD student Annemiek Waajen about her interest in life in space.
Describe your job in a few sentences.
I work at the University and I do experiments in Astrobiology (life in space), and search for life in space too!
What is your biggest achievement?
Last summer I went to NASA. It is a space agency. I went there to do an experiment which went to the International Space Station (ISS). It is basically a lab in space. I was able to see a rocket that launched into space. The experiments were in the rocket.
What living creatures live in space at this current time?
So far, we only know about life on Earth. We have not found any life in space.
What did you want to be before you became a scientist?
I wanted to become a biologist and work with animals. I am still a kind of biologist.
What is the coolest experiment that has been sent to space?
We looked at bacteria and put them in small containers and there was also a bit of water inside it. The water had nutrients. We also put sugar in there too. We launched them in a rocket.
What challenges have you had to overcome to get where you are today?
I started studying biology but I realised that I like astrobiology more. So I changed my studies a bit and focused more on astrobiology. Also, not many people study astrobiology so I had to go abroad because I am originally from the Netherlands.
What is your favourite part of Scotland?
I really like going to the islands and I like hiking too.
If you could choose your pizza toppings right now, what would they be?
I would go for goats’ cheese and spinach.
What has been your favourite country to visit? Where would you want to go next?
Australia is my favourite and I want to go and visit Ireland.
Tell us a fact that will WOW us.
There are more bacterial cells than human cells in our body.
If you could give any advice to young children and adults who are thinking about becoming scientists, what would you say?
I would say have fun with it and do not be scared. There are so many different ways to do science and just remember, it is really interesting.
Links and resources
- Check out all our Craigour Park Primary School interviews.
- Read more about this project with Craigour Park Primary School.
- Learn more about Annemiek’s research.