Astrophysicist and Women in STEM ambassador Lisa Harvey-Smith today announced her brand new project which will nurture and encourage young Australians into the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, her first children's book titled Under the Stars: Astrophysics for Bedtime out October 1.
A passionate advocate for gender equity, Lisa hopes to inspire and encourage young women to foster an interest in STEM, as she did at an early age with astrophysics. With women accounting for less than 1/5 of all employees in STEM in Australia, Lisa is raising awareness and driving cultural change in the STEM sector.
"It's important that we foster home-grown talent into STEM and encourage girls as much as boys to develop their interests in the diverse fields in sciences, technology, the different types of engineering and mathematics," Lisa says. "There is absolutely no difference in the ability between the genders and I am excited to assist in driving this cultural change and see a shift in attitudes towards gender in STEM."
Illustrated by Mel Matthews, Under the Stars: Astrophysics for Bedtime, transports curious kids and inquisitive adults on an incredible journey through the night sky. Kids will be able to explore the solar system from the comfort of their bedrooms, find out why the sky is blue, fly around a black hole and learn why Jupiter has stripes. It's a book that will bring the night sky to life, giving amazing new perspectives to young explorers who are always asking-'Why?'
As part of her role as Australia's Women in STEM Ambassador, Lisa has been travelling the country sharing her enthusiasm for astrophysics, encouraging more girls and women into STEM and working with leaders to address barriers to gender equity in STEM fields.
Lisa hopes that parents and grandparents will encourage not only their sons and grandsons, but their daughters and granddaughters to engage with astrophysics by purchasing them a copy of her new book and exploring an exciting new world among the stars.
"The cosmos is a fascinating new world for many, and I am excited to have translated my knowledge of this amazing subject for kids," says Lisa.
"It's a wonderful introduction into science and technology for kids - and their parents. If my new book can inspire girls to look beyond the social stereotypes and reach for the stars, I'll be very happy".
About the Author
Lisa Harvey-Smith is an award-winning astronomer and Professor at the University of New South Wales. She serves on the Australian Space Agency's Advisory Group and is the Australian Government's Women in STEM Ambassador.
About the Illustrator
Mel Matthews is an illustrator who lives and works on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. After a brief stint as a jazz musician, she studied fine art and illustration before becoming a full-time illustrator, creating artwork for books, games and products of all kinds. When she's not drawing, Mel can usually be found swimming, reading, writing, talking to parrots, or looking for the International Space Station on a clear starry night.