I would love to be an astronaut….

We were delighted to chat to one of our youngest science festival fans earlier this week. Ciara is a 10 year old girl who started blogging about her journey learning about science and space in April this year.  Along with her Mum, she started her website www.ciarasjourney.com to encourage other kids her age to develop an interest in science and space and to write about who she meets and what she learns along the way.
Over the past few months she has managed to squeeze in visits to Dunsink Observatory, Dublin, Armagh Planetarium, The National Space Centre, Leicester, UK and most recently a trip to San Diego and Los Angeles, California to visit both The Jet Propulsion Laboratory and San Diego Air & Space Museum.
 
Ciara, at just ten years old, you are one of the biggest local fans of Science Week that we are aware of..When did you develop such a passion for science and why?
 
I was around 7 years old when I started reading about Marie Curie and other famous women scientists and it made me want to learn more about what they did and how they achieved it.
 
Are there any particular elements of science that you find particularly exciting?
 
I have quite a big interest in Physics, as I have a great interest in space as well.  However, over the last few years I have been given opportunities to look into Chemistry and Biology as I have attended a few Anyone 4 Science camps and Scientific Sue events and really enjoyed them.
 
Do you think national Science Week is a good idea and are there other ways you think we can encourage more young people to pursue science?
 
I think National Science Week is a great idea to inspire kids to learn more about science.  It gives them a chance to try something completely different that they wouldn’t always get the chance to.  I love the idea that the local community and local schools and libraries can arrange and host these events and get their resources from the website too.
 
I think there maybe more kids would be attracted to science if there were more TV programmes like “Let’s Find Out” which is running on RTEJr at the moment as it makes learning about science interesting and fun.  Maybe having more camps like Anyone 4 Science being held locally would help to?  There are several Facebook pages of demonstrations in experiments and these are things you can watch and copy at home too.  I also think maybe if you gave the kids watching these programmes and Facebook easy challenges to complete they might do them and talk about them at school too.
 
Do you know at this stage what you would like to do after you finish school?
 
I would love to be an astronaut but I would also love to be an Astrophysicist and I think I am going to end up doing both hopefully!
 
What is your favourite science fact?
 
That would be about Black Holes.  That Black Holes are almost impossible to detect.  There is only 2 ways as far as I know to find them.  One to look to space and spot a big black empty void but that isn’t always reliable as sometimes there could be something in the way.  Two, to detect stars and planets being “eaten” by the Black Hole as they disappear.