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Bangladeshi astrophysicist Tonima among 2020 Science News' 10 Scientists to Watch

  • Published at 04:23 pm December 22nd, 2020
Tonima Tasnim Ananna Bangladeshi scientist
Tonima Tasnim Ananna Courtesy: sciencenews.org via Eli Burakian/Dartmouth College

Tonima has drawn the most complete picture yet of black holes across the universe, says Science News

Science News has unveiled its 2020 SN 10 Scientists to Watch, with Bangladeshi Tonima Tasnim Ananna among those profiled.

The 29-year-old astrophysicist got the recognition for her research on black holes.

For the sixth consecutive year, Science News featured 10 early- and mid-career scientists who are pushing the boundaries of scientific inquiry.

All the honorees of this year are aged 40 and under, and all were nominated by Nobel laureates, recently elected members of the US National Academy of Sciences or previous SN 10 scientists, according to sciencenews.org.

In a report published on the website of Science News on September 30, the American bi-weekly magazine said Tonima "has drawn the most complete picture yet of black holes across the universe — where they are, how they grow and how they affect their environments. And she did it with the help of artificial intelligence."

Citing Tonima, the report said that when she was a five-year-old in Dhaka, her housewife mother told her about the Pathfinder spacecraft landing on Mars. 

Her mother was curious about science and encouraged Tonima's curiosity, too. 

"That's when I realized there were other worlds," she said. "That's when I wanted to study astronomy." 

As there were not a lot of opportunities to study space in Bangladesh, she came to the United States for undergrad, attending Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, it said.

Tonima is currently a postdoctoral research associate at Dartmouth College. After Bryn Mawr, she earned her PhD at the Department of Physics in Yale University. 

Alongside her research, she co-founded Wi-STEM (pronounced "wisdom"), a mentorship network for girls and young women who are interested in science. 

Tonima and four other Bangladeshi scientists who studied in the United States mentor a group of 20 female high school and college students in Bangladesh, helping them find paths to pursue science, Science News said.