Profiles of Astronomers: Phoebe Sanderbeck


  • Who are you and where are you from?

I’m Phoebe, originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, have now lived in Seattle for over 2 years!

  • How did you become interested in Astronomy?

I became interested in astronomy/astrophysics when I was an undergrad majoring in physics. I had known for years that I wanted to be a physicist, but I didn’t know what part of physics I wanted to study. I started doing research and finally came upon astrophysics and loved it. Studying the universe in its entirety is what I realized interested me most.

  • If you’re an astronomer (grad/post-doc/faculty), what do you study?

I’m a grad student studying theoretical cosmology. Specifically the physics of the intergalactic medium, the particle soup between galaxies. It can tell us about how the universe evolved!

  • What’s the coolest thing (not literal) in the Universe?

Dark energy! We know so little about it, yet it’s causing the universe to accelerate in its expansion! Also shout-out to the cosmic microwave background, photons that have been streaming through the universe since the epoch of recombination.

  • What’s the coolest thing outside of your field?

Within physics: quantum mechanics. The way stuff behaves is way stranger than I could have ever imagined. Outside of physics: biology and neuroscience. There is so much left to learn about life and ourselves.

  • What is your favorite non-astronomy hobby?

Playing music, hiking, paddle-boarding, surfing, running, fashion, too many to mention!

  • Is there anything else you’d like the public to know about you?

I went to performing arts high school. I always knew I would study science though. Don’t be afraid to pursue everything that interests you!


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