Meet the Scientist

We're halfway through our Science Week at Is there anything new you have learned yet? We sure have!

Thanks to Dr. Orlaith Brennan, a medical physics lecturer from The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, we are discovering plenty of interesting facts about the human body, Earth and space, and much more! Be sure to check out our social media to learn more and join in the conversation.

But let's get to know our Scientist for the week better.

Who stands behind these fascinating facts we have been sharing all week?

What is she currently working on?

Continue reading to find out more...

Meet the Scientist

  1. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a lecturer in medical physics in The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. I graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a degree in Experimental Physics before going on to do a Masters and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering. The great thing about working in science is that it has allowed me to work in a variety of different areas, and to travel. I have worked for multinational food and beverage companies, in start-up medical diagnostic companies and academic institutions in Ireland, the UK and Australia. When I’m not working I love to entertain and cook for family and friends. I also love spinning, and lifting weights!

  1. Why did you become a physicist? What drew you to this field?

I have a very vivid memory of doing a project while in primary school on Galileo Galilei, the famous Italian astronomer, physicist and engineer. Like most kids, I think I was hooked by the wonder of space. However, more than that I think I was in awe of these great thinkers. People like Leonardo di Vinci, who were scientists, artists, engineers and philosophers and used all of these skills to solve problems. In today’s world it is difficult for one person to excel in a number of diverse areas and I think that is why multidisciplinary research and collaboration is so important. Physics wasn’t always easy and in college there were certain topics that I struggled with, but I was fortunate to have a great group of friends around me (and still do).

  1. What are you currently working on?

Broadly speaking my research interests are orthopaedic biomechanics and osteoporosis. In collaboration with industry and other research institutes my research group is looking at ways to replace diseased or damaged bone with biomaterials which enable the bone to regenerate. We are also looking at ways of characterising diseased bone tissue and using that to provide solutions for the early detection of osteoporosis.

  1. What do you enjoy the most about your work?

I enjoy the variety and flexibility that I have in my work. There is no such thing as a typical day. Between teaching, research and science outreach there are a lot of different areas that I can be working on. This makes every day different. There is no escaping the thrill of when an experiment works out as you had hoped, or when students have that Eureka moment!

  1. As one of not so many female physicists in the world, would you have any words of encouragement for young girls that would also like to pursue this career?

Probably the most important piece of advice I can offer any young girls is ‘Don’t underestimate yourself’. This applies to whatever career women choose. Work hard and be confident in your own ability. Hard work puts you where good luck can find you.