Tankiso Moso is reaching for the stars, quite literally. Moso’s research is a peek into space. She aims to establish and reveal the nature of the first stars, an exercise that could shed light on the cosmic “dark ages”. To execute her ambitious mission, Moso is using the Array of Long Baseline Antennas for Taking Radio Observations from the Sub-Antarctic (ALBATROS) which will be a new interferometric array of autonomous antenna stations that will map the low-frequency sky from Marion Island in the Southern Indian Ocean. Her work focuses on installation, characterisation of the antennas and exploration of the low radio frequencies, in a bid to reveal the nature of the first stars.
Moso hopes that her achievements and line of work will serve as an inspiration to females, high school learners and tertiary students and encourage them to choose engineering and science fields of study. She says she has gained more confidence in all aspects of life after being awarded a BSc Hons in Physics. She notes the extreme challenges s he faced throughout her transition of bridging the gap between engineering and science. “It is an extremely rare leap of faith for anyone to jump from the university of technology engineering qualification to a university physics qualification and further specialise in observational cosmology. “This leap of faith has illustrated my deep willingness to embrace the beautiful symbiotic relationship between engineering and science,” she said. Moso obtained a National Diploma in 2015, and a BTech degree in 2017 degree in Electrical Engineering (Light Current) from the Durban University of Technology. She was further awarded a BSc Hons. degree in Physics this year from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is currently enrolled at the same institution for an MSc. in Applied Mathematics, with a focus in Instrumentational Astrophysics.