Susan Murabana Owen
Occupation: Astronomer and CEO
Research Area: Education, Science Communication, Planetariums, and Astronomy
"Astronomy is a huge part of our everyday life and a reminder of how unique and intelligent we are"
Source: Space in Africa
Susan grew up in Kenya. She studied economics and sociology at University. She also has a Master’s degree in Astronomy.
Susan thinks every child should have the chance to look through a telescope. There are very few astronomers in Kenya. There was also no access to a planetarium when Susan grew up. This made it tough for children to have a go at using a telescope. Many would not know they could do astronomy as a hobby or choose it as a job.
In 2013, Susan went to a party to watch a solar eclipse. While she was there, she met Daniel Chu Owen. They soon saw they both wanted to share their love of space with others. In 2014, Susan and Chu started the Travelling Telescope. They use astronomy to get kids excited about science and technology.
Susan is the co-founder and CEO of the Travelling Telescope. The team take their telescope and planetarium to schools and public spaces. They often visit people in very remote areas. The team have also built a permanent planetarium in Nairobi. To make it low-cost and sustainable, the team made it out of bamboo.
Susan is president of the African Planetarium Association. This group supports planetariums across the continent of Africa. They also provide ways for teams to share resources and support each other.
The Travelling Telescope has reached hundreds of thousands of young people across Kenya. In 2020, the Travelling Telescope won the Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement.
Susan is a mentor for the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs. She volunteers to promote STEM subjects to girls and women.