Polish Power Women: Anna Losiak

Anna Losiak

Dr. Anna Losiak is planetary geologist working at the Polish Academy of Sciences. She focuses on studying impact craters and surficial processes on Mars. She is also involved in various outreach activities and Mars analog missions. She started her education and research in the field of planetary geology during Master studies with M.A. Velbel at Michigan State University (funded by the Fulbright Graduate Student Award). Her main focus there was on the development of evaporite minerals during weathering of Antarctic meteorites. During this time she also obtained an internship at the Lunar Planetary Institute in Houston where under the supervision of D. Kring she worked on impact cratering on Moon. During her PhD at the University of Vienna (under the supervision of C. Koeberl) she extended her understanding of impact processes by studying the 10 km diameter Bosumtwi crater in Ghana. After obtaining PhD she won a 3-year Post-Doctoral grant from the National Science Centre (Poland), for research on weathering of rocks on icy deserts: Antarctica and Martian Polar Residual Cap. Since 2012 she is also involved in preparing and running Mars Analog Missions: since 2013 she has lead the science team at the Austrian Space Forum. During the last couple of years, in parallel to projects related to Mars she has been working on small impact craters. She has led (and co-led) two research expeditions to Kaali craters which resulted in finding charcoal pieces buried in proximal ejecta. Finding those charcoals not only allowed us to finally determine the age of this structure, but also opened new questions that lead to this proposal.

Up to date she has published 15 peer-reviewed papers (7 as the first author) in some of the leading journals in the field of geoscience and planetary science (Lithos, Astrobiology, Meteoritics and Planetary Science, Journal of Sedimentary Research) and another 5 are in review or preparation. She has received multiple prizes and awards (including EGU Outstanding student poster award and LPI career development award) and more than €200k in grant funding. She has presented her work at numerous international conferences (including Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, European Geosciences Union General Assembly) and helped to organize sessions (e.g., a special session on small impact craters during MetSoc2016) and conferences in the field of planetary geology (e.g., a Second Mars Cryosphere Workshop 2014, AMADEE-15 Science Workshop).

She believes that popularizing scientific knowledge is an important part of being a scientist. She is an author of multiple articles in popular magazines, mostly about impact cratering and Martian geology. She is also the main expert commenter in the field of planetary geology of Polsat (one of the main TV networks in Poland). Every year, she gives several popular science lectures; not only during science fairs and at the universities, but also during the Comicon-type meetings. She is also working on increasing scientific literacy in Poland e.g., she has completed a one-year long project for high-school students (grant by the Foundation for Polish Science) and based on this experience she is currently working together with Naukowi.pl (a society of Polish scientific journalists) and Obywatele Nauki (a society of Polish scientists) on developing a project that will introduce scientific method to journalism students.