About me

Below is a formal bio. But there is much more to a person than a 300-word professional summary. I hope these few pages will help me share those intagibles – what I stand for, what I am passionate about – that don’t appear in a formal bio. So let us get the formal done, because it is informative after all. Here goes:

Dr. Carolina Odman is Associate Professor at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. Trained in physics at EPFL in Switzerland, she holds a PhD in cosmology from Cambridge University, UK.

After a Marie Curie postdoctoral research fellowship in Italy, she changed fields to become the first international project manager of Universe Awareness, an early childhood development programme that uses the inspirational aspects of astronomy to stimulate children’s development in underprivileged environments. She led Universe Awareness for 5 years, taking it from an idea to a global network of volunteers running projects in over 40 countries.

She joined the South African Astronomical Observatory as an SKA Africa (now SARAO) Research Fellow working at the interface between astronomy and technology, which she continues, as founding member of the “.astronomy” (dot-astronomy) conference and hackathon series. She was Director of Academic Development for the Next Einstein Initiative before joining thumbzup, a financial technology start-up as Chief Scientist. At thumbzup she set up a data science and analytics pipeline.

In 2018, she joined the Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy as Associate Director, Development and Outreach. There she leads a number of initiatives, including big data skills development, and continues to do multidisciplinary research on how big data and astronomy can contribute to development of communities and society at large.


PhD, Astrophysics, Cambridge University, UK (2003)

MSc, Physics Engineering, EPFL, Switzerland (2000)


Languages are more than words. They come with figures of speech and nuance, all of which are important to be able to understand one another, to not get lost in translation and communicate beyond words. I have been lucky to travel and immerse myself in many cultures and languages. Therefore, I learn more than words. I learn expressions, body language and colloquialisms and I adapt.

I speak English and French as first languages. I speak Swedish, and I can understand a business conversation in Dutch, Afrikaans, Italian and Spanish. But mostly, even if I may not be a fluent speaker, I get you in each of these languages.

Awards and Recognition