I first became interested in astronomy when I was about 5 years old. I remember myself watching the stars from a nearby street in which no lighting had yet been installed; the view was simply amazing. I started borrowing books from the school library and took on astronomy as a hobby. Interest continued to grow alongside a fascination with science and I bought my first telescope (a small refractor) about three years later. It was also around this time that I joined the Astronomical Society of Malta. I involved myself by carrying out observations through an 8-inch telescope (later on with a CCD camera) and by participating in the society’s outreach programs.
To cut a long story short, I realized that I wanted to do astronomy when I grew up and so I chose science subjects at school and opted for Mathematics and Physics when I entered sixth form. When I finished sixth form, I enrolled in a Maths & Physics course at university which provided me with opportunities to participate in a number of projects, the latest being a summer internship at the astrophysics department of the University of Oxford where I did a project under the supervision of Dr. Tom Mauch and Dr. Kristian Zarb Adami. I’m currently in my fourth and final year and am doing a dissertation under the supervision of Maltese astronomer Dr. Victor Debattista on the impact of radial migration on the vertical profiles of disk galaxies and a small project on the cosmic microwave background bispectrum with Dr. Kristian Zarb Adami. My plans have not changed: I’m still aiming to pursue a career in astrophysics. It’s really amazing how inspiring a brief look at the sky can be!
That is why it is so important to recognize the significance of participating in the activities of the International Year of Astronomy. I believe that the outreach activities around the world will bring astronomy to a much larger sector of the public, and inspire the next generation of astronomers. I myself have witnessed the inspiration that the night sky can offer, and wish that IYA 2009 will motivate other young people to choose a scientific career. Finally, I believe that astronomy with its capacity to provide insight about Earth’s fragility and man’s position in the cosmos, presents a perspective of unification for all humanity. May all people find inspiration in the night sky and enjoy the beauty of the cosmos for years to come!