Profiles of Women Working In STEM

Erin Macdonald

Astrophysicist & Science Fiction Consultant

Dr. Erin Macdonald (PhD, Astrophysics) currently works as a public speaker/educator and technical consultant, assisting others with explaining complex physics and astronomy ideas to varied audiences. Her undergraduate work was dual majored in Physics with Astrophysics and Mathematics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She obtained a PhD in gravitational astrophysics from the University of Glasgow, having done research with the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (resulting in the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics) on gravitational waves from dead and colliding stars and black holes.

Since leaving research in 2014, she worked as an adjunct professor and educator at the Denver Museum for Nature and Science where she grew her passion for speaking to varied crowds on a number of subjects. She has become a regular fixture at popular culture conventions across the United States through teaching the science behind science fiction such as Star Trek and Mass Effect, and she started bringing these talks online with her series “Dr Erin Explains the Universe.” She also assists science fiction writers with their work, such as on the science fiction series Orbital Redux.

In October 2019, she became the first woman science consultant for the Star Trek franchise, a role she still occupies today.

You can find her online at and talking all things space and sci-fi on Twitter at @drerinmac.

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