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For the International Day Of Women Rights that takes place each year on March 8, we are presenting a month-long gallery of portraits of women who make ISAE-SUPAERO. The opportunity to ask them how they perceive the place of women in science and society. Discover the portrait of Naomi Murdoch, Researcher with the Space Systems for Planetology & Applications (SSPA) team at ISAE-SUPAERO.


What position do you hold at ISAE-SUPAERO and what was the decisive factor for you in your career path?

I am a Researcher with the Space Systems for Planetology & Applications (SSPA) team. My research focuses on the geophysics of asteroids and planets. For our studies we send space instruments to various targets in the Solar System. These include near-Earth asteroids, small moons, Mars, etc. I think three major aspects brought me to where I am today: motivation, work, and meeting and sharing with colleagues who have always helped me to progress.

What do you feel is important for the future?

Social cohesion and support for the most fragile members of our society. There are too many people in Europe today who suffer in inhuman conditions when there are no constraints to justify the situation. This support is going to be essential for our society in our times of ecological emergency.

Who are the women who have inspired you, who have been role models for you?

My grandmothers are my sources of inspiration. My maternal grandmother earned a degree in medicine at a time when it was very rare for a woman to practice medicine. My paternal grandmother was a schoolteacher. She became an electronics engineer in aeronautics during the war (Women’s Royal Air Force). Despite the conditions and the prejudices of the period, both of them founded and raised families while pursuing their careers.

What would you say are the levers we need to pull to improve the place and share of women in society, the workforce, and the technological sciences?

Malheureusement, à notre époque encore, le fait d’embaucher une femme est toujours considéré comme un "risque", car elle pourrait partir quelques mois en congé maternité. A mon avis, si le père et la mère étaient tous les deux obligés de prendre un congé de la même durée il y aurait moins de biais dans les recrutements, les promotions, etc. Cette mesure ne pourrait, bien sûr, n’être que bénéfique pour l’équilibre de la famille et pour forger le lien qui unit le bébé à ses parents !

Her biography

Naomi Murdoch is British.

In 2011 she earned her Doctorate in Planetology and Physics from the Open University in England and the Université de Nice Sophia-Antipolis, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, France.

Since 2016 she has been Research Engineer in Space Instrumentation with the Space Systems for Planetology & Applications (SSPA) research group of the Department of Electronics, Optronics and Signal Processing (DEOS) at ISAE-SUPAERO.

Since 2017 she has been collaborating with NASA and other partners on the Mars Microphone equipping the Mars 2020 rover. Naomi is involved in both the project team (developing the noise model, instrument testing, preparations for deployment, etc.) and the scientific team for the InSight mission.

Her research interests include:
- Modelling the performances of seismic instruments on Mars;
- Interactions between the Martian atmosphere and the seismometers;
- Seismic wave attenuation in the regolith.

The aim of the Insight mission is to contribute to our understanding of how the terrestrial planets were formed and evolved and to determine the current level of tectonic activity and flow of meteorite impacts on Mars.
The SEIS (Seismic Experiment for Internal Structures) is the key instrument for delimiting the deep internal structure of Mars, including the thickness and structure of its crust, the composition and structure of its mantle, and the size of its core. The SEIS is made up of two independent three-axis seismometers: an ultra-sensitive very-broad-band (VBB) oblique seismometer and a miniature short-period (SP) seismometer that provide a partial redundancy of the measurements and expand the high-frequency measurement capacity.

In 2020, she is a co-author of scientific publications on the results of the Insight mission published in the prestigious scientific journals Nature Geoscience and Nature Communication.

She is also expecting a baby in April 2020.


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