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Marie Korsaga, the Burkinabe who studies galaxies

Marie Korsaga is a young Burkinabe astrophysicist. She holds a PhD in astrophysics. She is one of the few women in Africa to pursue a career in this so-called male “universe”. Now, she advocates for more young Burkinabe girls in scientific fields.

Marie Korsaga became astrophysicist in 2019. She succeeded to evolve in a field where there are very few Africans and almost no African women.

It all started in her childhood. Like most children of her age, she asked several questions about universe, the appearance of life, shooting stars … She was curious, but nothing more. She could not imagine becoming an astrophysicist one day. After her baccalaureate in mathematics and physics, she dreamed of becoming a civil engineer. Passionate about science, she enrolled at Joseph Ki-Zerbo University in Ouagadougou, where she studied mathematics and pure physics in more depth during the first two years.

In her bachelor year, she discovered for the first time, among the optional subjects, astronomy. As she was getting more and more interested in the subject, she started little by little to give up on her engineering dream. “I was fascinated by the courses I had taken because I got answers to a lot of questions I had been asking myself since I was a child,” she told

After obtaining her Diploma of Advanced Studies (DEA) in applied physics, she joined the “Galaxies” program of the Astrophysics Laboratory of Marseille (LAM) in France where she prepared her doctorate jointly with the University of Cape Town in South Africa. She conducted research on the “distribution of dark matter and visible matter in galaxies.” The goal was to understand how dark matter is distributed within galaxies,”she explains. In 2019, she defended her doctoral thesis in astrophysics on the theme “Distribution of baryonic and non-baryonic matter in spiral and irregular galaxies”.

For more women in science

Marie Korsaga had to face several stereotypes to become an astrophysicist, given that only men worked in this field in Burkina. “I had to face stereotypes like; physics is too complicated for a woman. You won’t be able to make a career in the field, and even you risk going crazy if you continue,”she told Today, her goal is to encourage more young Burkinabe girls to pursue a scientific career.

In addition, she also intends to promote and popularize astronomy in the country as a tool for development. Her ambition is that Burkina Faso become one of the countries that have launched satellites into space and a center of excellence in astronomy in the West African sub-region.