Tana Joseph. Photo provided by Tana Joseph
Tana Joseph. Photo provided by Tana Joseph

Dr. Tana Joseph is a South African astronomer. She studies double systems containing black holes and neutron stars in galaxies outside our Milky Way. Using telescopes on the ground and space, Dr. Joseph is trying to learn more about how these objects form, grow and impact their environment. She’s particularly interested in looking for these double stars in places where we don’t usually expect them to be. Dr. Joseph believes that science is for everyone. She is very involved in science communication and sharing the work of scientists with as many people as possible. To do this, she recently started her own STEM communication and consulting company called AstroComms (www.astrocomms.com, @Astro_Comms). Dr.Joseph spends a lot of time on Twitter, so if you have some questions about astronomy, you can find at @TanaDJoseph.

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Night owl

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?


4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?


5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?


8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?

I would be a stay-at-home-sister to my three amazing siblings

9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?

Marine biology

10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

Home to Cape Town

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?

I’d want super healing like Highlander/ the cheerleader in Heroes/ Wolverine

12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (Lauryn Hill), Dirty Computer (Janelle Monae), the Wayfarer series of books (Becky Chambers)

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

Spend time with my friends and go to brunch

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

My friends and family, the internet, Netflix

15 What beverage gives you life?

Ginger ale on the rocks

16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

Bridget Jones’ Diary

17 What did you want to be when you grew up?

An astronomer!

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

I love learning new things, so I’m always wanting to explore new opportunities

19 What got you excited in science?

Asking questions about how the world works and getting answers and sometimes not getting answers!

20 What excites you about science now?

The fact that sometimes the more we learn, the more complicated a problem becomes. All the unanswered questions keep scientists in a job.

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

I don’t have any. I’m open about what I like

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I can do the running man is high heels

23 What is your favorite game?

30 Seconds, a South African board game similar to Articulate

24 What is the last book you read?

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

Work smarter, not harder

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?

Getting a nose piercing

27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

It’s ok to fail sometimes. And your mother is right about so many things…

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Playing Pokemon Go. Walking around my neighborhood and catching magic monsters is fun.

29 What is the last thing you watched?

Brooklyn 99

30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

No idea

31 What is your favorite animal?


32 What is your favorite book?

I really enjoy the Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

Anything that is carb heavy, garlic bread, pasta, dough balls

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

Don’t have one

35 What is your favorite plant?

Don’t have one

36 What is your favorite science fact?

That we know more about the interior of the Sun than the interior of the Earth.

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?

Hugo Boss

39 What is your favorite sound?

People laughing together

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

My sense of humour

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?

Too many to choose from!!

42 What is your proudest moment?

Starting my company

43 What kind of tree would you be?

Peach tree

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

I currently live in Manchester, UK and for me the best thing is being able to see really big names perform their music live.

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

I love babies.

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

Esther Mensah @EstherMensah16