Dr Tayyaba, first Pakistani woman selected for Homeward Bound Program

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News Desk |

Stargazer Dr. Tayyaba Zafar, hailing from Pakistan has become the first Pakistani woman to be selected for an Antarctic research trip under the Homeward Bound programme. Antarctica is the extreme frontier on planet Earth.

Homeward Bound Research program is a leadership initiative, set against the backdrop of Antarctica, which aims to heighten the influence and impact of women in making decisions that shape planet Earth.

“In Pakistan, the subject of astronomy isn’t taught. Since I liked astronomy, I used to buy books on the subject and read them for pleasure. Studying the subject, in depth, became a passion.”

Dr. Zafar was the only Pakistani woman amongst the 80 women selected from 26 countries for the trip. The group of women­– including specialists from various fields in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine– visited Antarctica and spent three weeks there.

During her stay in Antarctica, Dr. Zafar covered a number of things ranging various species of penguins, melting glaciers, zodiac cruises, and whale watching. The research trip was a part of a one-year program. The participants also attended online sessions on different subjects including leadership qualities.

Dr. Zafar’s ultimate goal is to, however, reach the skies but she described the trip to Antarctica as an opportunity for self-reflection. In an interview with a local publication, Dr. Zafar stated that “You can feel the positivity and inhale it. You can reflect yourself.”

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Dr. Zafar also lamented the fact that astronomy is not a popular subject in Pakistan and is not widely taught, hence, she had to buy books to read about the subject. “In Pakistan, the subject of astronomy isn’t taught. Since I liked astronomy, I used to buy books on the subject and read them for pleasure. Studying the subject, in depth, became a passion.”

Dr. Zafar has completed her masters in Physics and later taught at the Punjab University. “In 2007, I won a scholarship for Ph.D. studies at the DARK Cosmology Centre of the famed Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen,” she stated.

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She wants more females to enter the field of science and that they should read about the autobiographies and biographies of the women scientists. “This will show them that the subjects of science and astronomy are not only for men. If some women have made it, they can make too”, she stated.

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