Astrophiz 167: Mia Walker ‘Engineering the Murchison Widefield Array’


Recently I had the privilege of interviewing Mia Walker, an engineer and Project Officer at the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy in Western Australia. Mia’s passion for astronomy is the driving force behind her career in this field, where she has contributed to the development and operation of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) radio telescope, a stunning project designed to help unlock the mysteries of the Universe. But without Mia and the team she works with, the astronomers hungry for MWA data would all be staring at blank screens!

During this interview, Mia shares her experiences and insights about her work with radio astronomy instrumentation, and projects on the path to the even bigger SKA-Low telescope. Mia speaks about the toughest challenge that radio telescopes face, and how the MWA is overcoming this in the field, which is an extremely remote region of Western Australian outback – where battles with the elements (both environmental and antenna-related) are commonplace.

Mia also shares her thoughts on role models in STEM fields, and emphasizes the importance of visibility in encouraging young women to pursue careers in science and engineering. Overall, this interview with Mia is a fascinating insight into the world of radio astronomy and the incredible work being done at the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy. Mia’s passion and expertise in the field are inspiring, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have learned so much in such a short time from her experiences.

You will love looking into this window of Mia’s wonderful world!

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