While not doing research or teaching, I enjoy reading, traveling, hiking, photography, and observing the night sky with naked eyes or through my small telescope.

Alongside my academic career, I always wanted to share my passion for astronomy with others. I think of astronomy as a gateway to introduce science to people, and show them how beautiful and useful science is in their everyday lives. That’s why in the fall of 2008, with the help of a team of four friends, we established a global project called “StarPeace“, which aimed to promote peace and astronomy by having neighboring countries to hold public observation nights for locals at the same time at two sides of their borders. By the end of the project in 2014, we had more than 30 nations as our members and held more than 50 public observations around the globe.

The next major step in my outreach activities was co-founding the StarYab astrophysical literature website in Persian, with my friend and colleague, Azadeh Keivani, who is a postodoc at Penn State. In StarYab, we present an interesting recent paper in astrophysics from arXiv every week in a simple format that is comprehensible to those who are in the beginning of this road. Our main audience are Persian-speaking science undergraduate and graduate students, enthusiastic high schoolers, and amateur astronomers who are eager to know more about the state-of-the-art research in astronomy around the world. Currently, I am also a member of the outreach team of the Association of Women in Science – UC Riverside chapter.

One of the my main passions in life is traveling. I have traveled to many countries in Asia, Europe, and America. My most adventurous trip was an expedition to Antarctica in 2007. It was an educational expedition by the Students On Ice organization. The expedition changed my life perspective towards our planet and taught me to have more respect towards our beautiful Earth (global warming is unfortunately real).

 

Our ship breaking the Antarctic ocean in Paradise Bay, December 2007. Credit: Irene Shivaei