Research Assistant & Geodesist, National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand
Chiang Mai Province, Thailand
“I wonder, because it is a wonder,” says Nattaporn Thoonsaengngam, a talented researcher, published geodesist, and professional photographer. The worlds of astronomy, geodesy, radio astronomy, humanity, and natural and built environments are all captured by her mind’s eye, photographer’s lens, and written words.
A radio telescope is one of the prime features of the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand, where Thoonsaengngam is a research assistant. Radio astronomy features in her work on a variety of pursuits in geodesy. Among these is the use of very long baseline interferometry (VLBI), a foundational technology also critical to the geodetic reference framework that makes radio navigation and GNSS possible.
While earning her master’s in geodesy and geoinformation science at the Technical University of Berlin, she wrote her thesis “Earthquake-Induced Surface Deformation Measured by VLBI.” Prior to pursuing her advanced studies in Germany, Thoonsaengngam earned her bachelor’s in surveying engineering at Chulalongkorn University in her home country of Thailand.
This young scientist, artist—and dreamer—is an inspiration for her friends, colleagues, and peers, a fine example for young people considering careers that blend science and imagination.