Meet Dr Kate Isaak

Project Scientist


Kate was born and raised in the UK. She studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge as an undergraduate, drawn to the course the breadth and depth of science that it offered. After much deliberation she specialised in Physics in her final year. A strong desire to answer science questions using self-built tools led Kate to work on a PhD that combined building with science, more specifically combining submillimetre-wave/Terahertz astronomical instrumentation with a search for the fingerprints of starformation in very distant galaxies (with the added bonus of trips to observe at exotically located telescopes). She continued to work at the interface between science and engineering following her PhD, with fellowships and postdocs in Massachusetts and Maryland, and at the University of Cambridge and at Cardiff University.

All of her work has been on international projects, and in 2004 Cardiff she joined a European team working on the Japanese-led SPICA mission as a Project Scientist. The dynamic and international/multicultural flavour of space science particularly appealed, and in 2010 she made the jump from academe to agency to follow this.

Kate is now working in the Netherlands at ESTEC, the Technical Centre of European Space Agency (ESA) as the ESA project scientist for a joint ESA-Swiss space mission called CHEOPS, which will make the first-step characterisation of known planets outside our solar system by measuring precisely their radii.

Over the years, Kate has pursued a number of interesting hobbies in her spare time, including sport, bee-keeping, hanggliding and most recently growing vegetables.

Kate Isaak
Place of job
European Space Agency (ESA), The Netherlands
Project Scientist
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