Professor Haley Gomez awarded MBE

15 June 2018

Professor Haley Gomez
Professor Haley Gomez

Professor Haley Gomez of the School of Physics and Astronomy has been awarded an MBE for her services to astrophysics and astronomy and, in particular, for inspiring the next generation of physicists and astronomers by communicating her research to a wide audience.

Professor Gomez has been at Cardiff since her undergraduate degree, which she obtained in 2001. Her scientific research involves studying the formation and properties of cosmic dust. This is the solid material made in stars and of which planets such as the Earth are composed. For this research she uses state-of-the-art observatories on the ground and in space, and collaborates with leading astronomers worldwide. She is passionate about communicating science to young people and the wider public and is Head of Public Engagement for the School.

Speaking of her delight when receiving news of her award Professor Gomez said: “The award came as a huge surprise! I've been very lucky to work with an amazing team of scientists. I feel really honoured but I am also pleased that this award recognises and values the importance of scientists going into communities and engaging with the public.”

As well as being involved in cutting-edge research, Professor Gomez is also committed to inspiring young people and non-physicists to learn more about the world around them. She is particularly interested in encouraging all school students, regardless of their background, to take STEM subjects and to consider STEM careers. As Head of Public Engagement she is involved in two major outreach projects in collaboration with her colleagues in the School.

Professor Matt Griffin, Head of the School of Physics and Astronomy, said: "Many congratulations to Haley from all her colleagues in the School. We're delighted to learn of this award for her distinguished contributions to astronomy and for all she has done in communicating the excitement and the value of science to the public, and to young people especially."

Professor Steve Eales, Head of the Astronomy Group, added: “Haley is equally committed to astronomical research and to telling the public, who pay for it all, about what we do. She’s been an inspiration to a lot of people over the years, from kids in primary and secondary schools to her colleagues in the Astronomy Group.”

As evidence of her achievements in both research and outreach activities, Professor Gomez has won a number of awards including the Royal Astronomical Society Fowler Award for early career achievement in 2015, and an award for the most inspirational person in the Science and Technology category in the 2014 Inspire Wales Awards.