Hardwork pays off for scientist

Claire Burke is sprearheading a pioneering proejct to track and save endangered animals
Claire Burke is sprearheading a pioneering proejct to track and save endangered animals

A former Penwortham schoolgirl is spearheading a pioneering project to track and save endangered animals.

Former Runshaw College and Priory Academy student Dr Claire Burke was awarded the silver prize for physical sciences in Parliament at STEM for Britain recently and will receive a British Science Association Prize for Digital Innovation in September for her work with drones and animals.

The astrophysicist is now leading a Liverpool John Moores University project using heat seeking drones to differentiate and track rare and endangered species using their heat patterns.

The idea was adapted from using heat to investigate the age and size of stars and planets but now it is being used on the ground and is already being hailed a success.

Claire has appeared in the New York Times, the BBC and on the Discovery National Geographic TV Channels taking about her ground breaking work.

The 31-year-old, who hails from Longton, said:“It’s a dream job really.

“I was definitely inspired by my physics teacher Mrs Gough at Priory.

“She encouraged us to look at the life cycle of stars as well as space and she inspired me to go into physics. I still keep in touch with her.”

Claire, who’s dad is still a governor at Priory, studied physics with astronomy and then did a Phd in astrophysics and got a research job in South Africa with the Square Kilometre Array telescope before she returned to England to be a climate scientist with the Met Office, and then landing her dream job back at Liverpool John Moores.

She will now be testing the equipment in Malaysia.