• Individual Members
  • Early Career Members
  • Student Members
  • Corporate Members
  • SPIE Professional Magazine
  • Visiting Lecturers
  • Women In Optics
  • Women in Optics Events
    Women in Optics Planner
    2016 WiO Planner
    2015 WiO Planner
    2014 WiO Planner
    2013 WiO Planner
    2012 WiO Planner
    2011 WiO Planner
    2010 WiO Planner
    2009 WiO Planner
    2008 WiO Planner
    2007 WiO Planner
    2006 WiO Planner
    2005 WiO Planner
    Women in Optics Videos
    Women in Optics Survey
  • BACUS Technical Group
Print PageEmail Page

Susan McKenna-Lawlor

Director, Space Technology Ireland Ltd., Ireland

Susan McKenna-Lawlor

Country of Birth: Ireland
Country of Residence: Ireland
Educational Background: PhD, Space Physics, National University of Ireland (NUI); Hon. DSc, University of Ulster


The realization hit when I was entering university that my education in “the polite subjects” was unbalanced and that an introduction to the second pillar of civilization–science–was required.

I am a leader for my group in providing technical inputs to challenging missions that go, for instance, to Mercury and to Jupiter. Also, I lead an international group for the International Academy of Astronautics that considers the radiation hazard incurred by humans in traveling to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

The biggest challenge was at the beginning in transferring from topics related to music and literature to experimental physics and mathematics. I almost immediately recognized the wonderful beauty of science and so worked to gain the necessary skills to function in this regime.

There is nothing that I needed especially to be told; I was following the beat of an internal drum.

STEM will repay you a thousand-fold for the effort you put into it and will fill your life with beautiful and inspiring things.

View more 2016-17 profiles