Renee Key

  • PhD student
  • CDM
  • Swinburne University of Technology
  • Road-tripping Brisbane to Port Macquarie

What do you do?

I hunt for very old and very tiny black holes zooming around in our outer galaxy.  If there’s enough of these black holes they could make up dark matter, which is an invisible substance that glues galaxies together, and makes up 85% of all matter in the Universe!

How did you get to where you are today?

I studied physics in high school and at university—studying space and the Universe was something I always really wanted to do.  It was one of my favourite subjects in school, but I also thought about becoming a children’s book illustrator or a musician (I played clarinet)! 

What advice would you give to someone studying physics?

Learn to code a little!  Code a small game or learn some coding styles, because programming is a very big part of astrophysics research these days.  I had to learn on the fly, but wish I had some time to learn at school.

What do you enjoy doing besides physics?

I spend a lot of my time looking after my garden—I have basil, bok choy and broccoli, all which the snails and slugs in my garden love to eat before I can! 

Fun fact:

I’m a scaredy-cat.  I hate horror films, long and dark hallways, and jump-scares.  Once on year 5 school camp, I cried because a gentle cow came up to our tent at night, but I thought it was a monster! 

View all road-trippers