Rebecca Berrett

Rebecca Berrett

MSc Student

Location: Yuggera Country, Springfield Campus

I have always had a strong interest in physics and space. After high school, I started a Bachelor’s Degree in Science at Deakin University yet was disillusioned by the lack of physics classes/a physics major. I decided to make a change, and pursue a degree in Information Technology. I studied abroad in Japan and Vietnam before graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in IT (Software Engineering) in 2018. I then reassessed the direction I wanted to go in, and started a Master of Science (Astronomy) degree with Swinburne University. Realising that I wanted to go down the research career path, I exited early with a Graduate Certificate of Science (Astronomy) and transferred to the University of Southern Queensland to pursue a Master of Science (Astrophysics) which would be more suited to fostering a career in research as it is more technical and contains a major research component. I am now in my final year of my Master’s degree and undertaking the research project component of my course. In future, I hope to pursue a PhD in Astrophysics and spend my life learning, researching, and contributing to our understanding of the Universe and our place in it.

In the last 6 months, I have been organising a project with CSIRO/SETI/Breakthrough Listen to search for technosignatures (artificial signals generated by a technologically advanced extra-terrestrial civilisation) in space supervised by UniSQ’s Associate Professor Andrew Maxwell and Research Fellow Dr Brett Addison; Curtin University’s senior post-doctoral researcher Dr Danny Price (also part of ICRAR, SETI and project scientist for Breakthrough Listen), CSIRO’s Dr Jimi Green (Parkes Senior System Scientist) and SETI’s postdoctoral researcher Chenoa Tremblay. The details of this project such as: signal frequency, bandwidth, search targets/areas will be determined after I complete a thorough review of previously published literature. The chances of a positive detection are very low, yet I am driven by insatiable curiosity, serendipitous discovery, and exposure to practical radio astronomy.

Additionally, USQ’s Professor Brad Carter and I will be looking at space weather (flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs)) in Sun-like stars and perhaps relating it back to our own Sun in the hopes of predicting future solar extremes that may detrimentally affect our space technology and generate dangerous geomagnetic storms here on Earth.

  • Gravitational Wave Astronomy
  • Radio Astronomy
  • Cosmology
  • SETI