Sara Imari Walker
Hi everyone!! Just found this cool NASA website with some fun games on it! Enjoy!! http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/menu/play/
Favourite Thing: Look up at the sky on a very very dark night and think about how much must be out there =)
Bolton High School, Bolton Connecticut USA (1997-2000); Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School, W. Yarmouth Massachusetts USA (2000 – 2001); Cape Cod Community College, W. Barnstable Massachusetts USA (2001 – 2003);
Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne Florida USA (2003-2005); Dartmouth College, Hanover New Hampshire USA (2005-2010)
Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta Georgia USA (2010 – 2011); Arizona State University, Tempe Arizona USA (2011 – present)
NASA Astrobiology Institute and Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science at Arizona State University, Tempe Arizona USA
I am a NASA Astrobiology Institute Postdoctoral Fellow
Me and my work
I am a physicist and astrobiologist who is fascinated by the search for life in the universe.
I live in Mesa Arizona with my two beagles and my husband. This is me on the left (notice I don’t wear a lab coat!!).
I started out as a scientist being fascinated by cosmology: the study of the really really big things in the universe. I found myself becoming increasing interested in life – how did it start, where is it going, and is there other life out there in the universe. So, I’ve taken my training in physics and applied in new ways to a field of research I never would have thought I would be in: astrobiology! Astrobiology is the study of life in the universe, which includes A LOT of study of the life we have here on Earth. I love it!! Pursuing this area of work has led me on many great adventures. Young astrobiologists are so passionate for discovery! I wouldn’t trade my work for anything!
My Typical Day
I usually go around campus talking to a lot of different people, so many ideas to discuss! And I spend a lot of time with my computer =)
I don’t really have typical days! They are all different and full of cool things to learn and discover!
Science is so wonderful because it gives us a forum to discuss really big ideas. When I am at work, I love to talk to colleagues about different ideas and really try to tackle tough questions. I also spend a lot of time at my computer trying to write programs to solve problems that are to difficult to do without a computer to help! My favorite place to work however is not my desk! I like to walk around campus a lot to think. And my favorite thing to do is go to a coffee shop for a few hours and work on developing ideas and writing things up. Since I am a theorist I can do these sorts of things – the world is my laboratory! I often go to the coffee shop with a friend – she took this picture last time we were out working together. =)
I go to conferences a lot too, which is really great and actually a lot of fun. I get to talk to a lot of different scientists about many things, and I always learn a ton! This is a picture of all the young astrobiologists at a confrence I just got back from in Montana (can you find me?)
And we do neat things like try to figure out ways we can make a difference in the world. This photo is a bunch of us young scientists brainstorming ways we can help students in places like Tanzania and Turkey get opportunities to learn science and reach their full potential!! (That’s not an average every day of the week type typical day, but it sure is exciting!!)
When I am not at work, I like to read a lot, and to play with my dogs. They can be very hyper and love to be chased! This is my husband and two dogs, from back when we lived in New Hampshire!
What I'd do with the money
I’d love to make a website that catalogs the life and work of young astrobiologists.
I’d like to do something with my money from IAS that would reach as many people as possible. I think it would be fantastic to have a publicly available website for young astrobiologists to catalog their lives. This would be a website for people curious about the universe to visit and learn interesting science while also learning about what young scientists do in our daily life (yes we are real people!). The website would include a question and answer section – so anyone could visit and ask questions about science, life, and the universe – with answers provided by the young astrobiology “bloggers” on the site. It would also include interviews, and field site diaries (like when astrobiologists visit antartica! eek!), and all sorts of things to engage everyone in the search for life in the universe! I am really excited about getting it up and running! I think it would be an amazing website for students like you to post ideas and ask questions =)
P.S. – Check out this awesome NASA website with games!! http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/menu/play/
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
energetic, passionate, bright
Who is your favourite singer or band?
I love more classic bands like the beatles, rush, and queen but I am also into the newer emo-punk rock scene in the states like saves the day, and brand new.
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Recently, it was laying under the stars on a ranch in Montana, the sky there is so amazing!! The Milky Way is BRILLANT!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Win the lottery (don’t worry I’d share!), be able to do whatever science I want for my whole life, be able to travel where-ever and when-ever
What did you want to be after you left school?
I didn’t really know!
Were you ever in trouble in at school?
Yes, mostly for speaking my mind (sometimes it can’t be helped!)
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
Help young people in science, particularly in astrobiology – their passion really drives me!
Tell us a joke.
How do you say “hello” to a two headed alien? Answer: “Hello, hello”