Ellie MacDonald

Science Communication

“Don’t Panic” – Douglas Adams

My background is in Mathematics and Physics, and these are the subjects for which I was awarded my degree from the University of Warwick. I am most interested in nuclear fusion, and cosmology. I love talking to people about Maths and Physics, this is what brought me to Kielder Observatory.

  • Who is your favourite scientist: Historically, it would have to be a tie between Rosalyn Sussman Yalow and Katia Krafft. Both were wonderfully intelligent women who pushed themselves to the forefront of their respective fields, leaving a trail of naysayers behind them. Sussman Yalow, a medical physicist, was the second woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize for her work in co-developing radioimmunoassy (RAI). Krafft was a volcanologist who spent her adult life observing eruptions and filming them, along with her husband Maurice. Their observations of pyroclastic flows were vital in bringing understanding to their nature, but it unfortunately led to the couple’s death in 1991 during the eruption of Mt. Unzen.
  • Favourite Nobel Prize winning work: Wolfgang Pauli’s Exclusion Principle, awarded 1945.
  • Favourite Ig-Nobel Prize winning work: “On the Rheology of Cats” by M.A. Fardin, awarded the prize in 2017. This is also my favourite scientific paper and uses fluid dynamics to categorise cats as fluid or otherwise.