Astrophysicist Aomawa Shields recounts her alternative career path in a new memoir about life, space and motherhood
by By Rebecca Boyle via https://www.scientificamerican.com/
Early in her astronomy Ph.D. program, Aomawa Shields found herself without words. She had an undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology but had left science for 11 years—a full solar cycle—and now she was back. It was her turn to present scientific findings to her peers, but Shields, who also had an M.F.A. in acting, developed a terrible case of stage fright. Getting ready for her talk, she was too shaky to tie her shoes.
“I guess that was the closest thing I’ve ever had to a panic attack,” Shields recalls. Helping her tie her shoes, her husband assured her she could talk circles around the others. But things didn’t improve. During her presentation, a fellow student interrupted her with a question about the rotation of Saturn’s moon Iapetus. Shields wasn’t sure how to answer, so…