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“Astrocarla”: The TikTok scientist who talks about the universe and inspires girls around the world | Astrophysics in Peru | Twitter | We are

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When do you start looking at the stars?

My parents say that from a young age I was fascinated by everything related to space. Every time a movie came out, I would leaf through books or illustrations about planets and stars, and I would be fascinated by them. I even wanted to be an astronaut. Fortunately, they had the vision to stimulate this fascination.

I decided to study physics at university. How was your interest linked to this discipline?

When I was a teenager I discovered that astronauts train physically and mentally for manned flights. What I really wanted was to study the universe through scientific theory, which meant taking another path. At the beginning of this century there wasn’t much information about astrophysics, so I understood that studying a degree in physics could give me a foundation. Along the way, I overcame many prejudices about the exact sciences. It is “very difficult to study” and “it is not for everyone”. Or it is only for men, and this is false. However, people suggested that I follow a “regular career” and take up astronomy as a hobby. But I persisted in my desire.

The account owned by @astrocarlaa on Instagram has 135 thousand followers. On TikTok it’s about to hit 50k.

/ Photo Editors>Richard Hirano

After that, she obtained a master’s and doctorate in astrophysics.

Yes, I earned my master’s degree in Spain and my doctorate in Chile. Next, I looked for an area of ​​expertise. When I was studying at Catholic University, there was already an Institute of Radio and Astronomy, which was responsible for designing and manufacturing satellite dishes to capture radio waves coming from space. That stole my attention.

Listen to space. What Jodie Foster’s character did in the movie “Contact.”

Yes, although she was looking for signs of artificial origin [vida en otros planetas]. We use the same technique, but to capture signals of natural origin.

I’ve become well known on Instagram. How did you come up with the idea?

In the epidemic. At first, I was shocked when I did my master’s degree in Spain and saw that there were 30 people in the room and 55 percent of them were girls. Here in physics, four of us graduated and I was the only woman. I thought it was incredible. There were many scientific publishing activities there in relation to the community. I experienced something similar in Chile. I’ve also met many promoters on networks that have great visibility. I thought I could replicate that in Peru.

Women in Peru still have little space in the world of science. why is that?

I think the reason is a social and cultural problem. Today there are opportunities for men and women, but the factor I mention affects their decision. In the early stages, scientific curiosity is equal among girls and boys. The problem is how this is handled. Girls are usually told not to play with trains, but with dolls. Or it’s better that the cousin or friend blows up the volcano model and not them. These everyday situations deter them when they become teenagers. The social and cultural environment instils in them that this is not the way. There you have to radically change your outlook and actions. The issue is changing, there are more women, especially online, talking about science, but more work needs to be done on this. //

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