Karlie Noon

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Karlie Alinta Noon is the first indigenous woman in Australia to graduate with a double degree in maths and physics,[1] an astronomer, of the Gamilaraay people, multiple award winner, 2019 Eureka Prize nominee, and one of the 2017 BBC's 100 Women.[2] She is researching Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Australian National University, Australia.[3]

Early life[edit]

Noon was raised in a small town called Coledale, near Tamworth, the country music centre of Australia, with a significant disparity between people of different economic classes.[4] She describes herself as being "a poor, Aboriginal kid, this definitely influenced my experience of the education system and just not being seen in it". She describes her "terrible attendance rate" at high school, and succeeding in science due to tutoring and the help of a mentor.[5] However support and encouragement from her close family, and in particular, her grandmother, allowed her to have the confidence to seek a career in science.[6]

Education and career[edit]

Noon found traditional schooling and education in high school to be not suited to her, and received much of her early maths training from a mentor who came to her house. She then obtained her double degree from the University of Newcastle and then moved to studying at ANU, Canberra.[7][8] Noon then worked for CSIRO’s Indigenous STEM program.[9][10] Her research has involved understanding the sophisticated astronomic knowledge deeply embedded within indigenous culture as well as sifting through European and Indigenous accounts of moon haloes.[11]

Awards, honours and recognition[edit]

  • 2019 — She was a finalist at the Eureka awards for 3M ‘Emerging Leader in Science’.[12]
  • 2019 — Noon made the honour roll for Australian of the Year.[13]
  • 2018 — contributor to the "Made Beautiful by Nature" series of stories.[14]
  • 2017 — voted one of BBC's 100 Women.[2]
  • 2017 — STEM Professional Early Career Award finalist.[15]
  • 2017 — Women of the Future Finalist.

Media and science communications[edit]

Noon has a history of science communication, hoping to open the door to STEM for people from minorities.[4][6] She was reported in the Northern Daily Leader as saying "I want to push the idea that anybody can achieve a career in STEM, everyone has the right to equal opportunities, including young women, including young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people".[6] Noon has worked with the CSIRO to find candidates for the Indigenous STEM awards.[16] Noon has worked to inspire other young children to engage in STEM, including indigenous people and people from lower socioeconomic groups.[1] She has also advocated that women and girls are capable in science and encourages diversity in STEM. "Girls can absolutely do it and they can smash it just as well as any other person can."[1] Noon's work has involved to encouraging indigenous people to study and work in STEM careers.[17]

In August 2020 the Sydney Observatory appointed Noon their inaugural astronomy ambassador.[18]

  • Noon’s work on indigenous astronomy was featured on SBS.[19]
  • Her work on indigenous science, discovery and equity was described on Australia’s Science Channel.[1]
  • Her biography and work on astronomy was described in the Indigenous Science Network Bulletin.[20]
  • In 2016 the ABC described her work in indigenous physics "reaching for the stars".[21]


  1. ^ a b c d "Astronomer Karlie Noon embraces Indigenous science, education and equality". Australia's Science Channel. 22 June 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  2. ^ a b Halton, Mary (7 November 2017). "The women championing their scientific ancestors". Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  3. ^ McArthur, Jacob (8 July 2018). "Aboriginal astronomer says science can learn from culture". The Northern Daily Leader. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Karlie's reaching for sky-high dream". The Northern Daily Leader. 24 September 2016. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  5. ^ "Breaking the mould with mathematician & physicist Karlie Noon". Women's Agenda. 18 July 2019. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  6. ^ a b c McArthur, Jacob (28 October 2018). "Karlie Noon nominated for Young Australian of the Year". The Northern Daily Leader. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  7. ^ "Karlie Noon". AMSI Careers. 3 July 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  8. ^ "Meet The Self-Taught Astrophysicist Who Says Schools Are Failing Our Students (And Skies)". Junkee. 24 July 2019. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  9. ^ "A Night by the Fire with Indigenous scientist Karlie Noon". State Library Of Queensland. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  10. ^ Director, RSAA; webmaster@mso.anu.edu.au. "Karlie Noon". rsaa.anu.edu.au. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  11. ^ Cortis, Western Sydney University-Jess. "Universities unveil ambitious Indigenous participation targets". www.westernsydney.edu.au. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  12. ^ CSIRO. "Next gen gas mask and real time disease surveillance named Eureka finalists". www.csiro.au. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  13. ^ "Australian of the Year Awards". www.australianoftheyear.org.au. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  14. ^ Farmer, Veronica (14 November 2018). Made Beautiful... ISBN 978-8193569214.
  15. ^ "Karlie". Australian Indigenous Astronomy. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  16. ^ "Australia's Leading Science Agency, CSIRO, Launches Inaugural Indigenous STEM Awards". GirlTalkHQ. 20 October 2016. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  17. ^ "Indigenous STEM Awards: discovering our stars". CSIROscope. 12 September 2016. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  18. ^ Archibald-Binge, Ella (21 August 2020). "Aboriginal astrophysicist proves anyone can aim for the stars". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  19. ^ "Ancient Indigenous astronomers made discoveries attributed to Galileo and Newton, says Karlie Noon". The Feed. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  20. ^ "Indigenous Science News Bulletin" (PDF).
  21. ^ Salleh, Anna (22 October 2016). "Indigenous scientist Karlie Noon reaches for the stars". ABC News. Retrieved 27 August 2019.

External links[edit]