Postdoctoral research fellow: Department of astrophysics, Princeton University

Renée Hlozek

Fascinated by the burning questions about the universe — its origin, fate and evolution — Renée Hlozek gravitated towards science at school in the hope of one day being able to answer them. It seemed destined because, through various programmes, scholarships and natural aptitude, the universe literally opened up to her.

Hlozek’s honours in applied mathematics in 2006 at the University of Cape Town was part of the National astrophysics and space science programme; her master’s was funded by the SKA human capital development programme and, between 2008 and 2011, as a Rhodes scholar, she read for her DPhil in astrophysics at Oxford.

Currently conducting postdoctoral research in cosmology at Princeton, she is analysing light originating just 380 000 years after the Big Bang. As passionate about making science accessible as she is about giving back, Hlozek is involved in several outreach programmes, including teaching maths in prisons and astronomy at schools.

— Lu Larche

Twitter: @reneehlozek