Exploding white dwarfs make the calcium in our bones. Dying massive stars release the iron that makes our blood red. Smaller dying stars and red giants produce the essential elements of life: carbon and oxygen. As someone who began their science journey immersed in science fiction, theoretical astronomer A/Professor JJ Eldridge has certainly learned that there is life among the stars, as we are all made of stardust. At the first RSV lecture held with Queers in Science to celebrate the 2020 Midsumma Festival, JJ shared their personal story in breaking the gender binary, reflecting that while they are personally a non-binary individual, their research focuses on the evolution of binary stars.
The journey of La Trobe University’s Dr Courtney Ennis has been complementary to the journey of Cassini. Using the skills and insight learned throughout his journey, he has been able to use the data sent back to Earth by the Cassini space probe to develop experiments that aid our understanding of the chemistry of Titan. From telescopic observations, spacecraft missions, and experiments on Earth, he can piece together a picture of how life came to be on Earth 3.6 billion years ago.