Being passionate about the mysteries of the universe like galaxies, swirling nebulae, planets and stars can excite many students to start a journey in the astronomy field. But what does it take to become an Astrophysicist? Find out with Selçuk Topal, Astrophysicist and Academician expert in molecular gas and galaxy evolution, working at Van Yüzüncü Yıl University.

Meet Selçuk Topal

For this STEM Job Profile, we talked to Selçuk Topal. Selçuk Topal is an Astrophysicist and Academician at the Van Yüzüncü Yıl University. In his research he focuses on molecular gas in external galaxies, in particular observing and analysing star-forming gas. It is a profession that integrates all fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

“The meteor shower I witnessed as a child sparked my curiosity in space and science. When I started studying astronomy at University, I realised once again, that I took the right decision. If I had the chance to return to the beginning of my career journey, I would choose this field again.”

Curious to find out more about this job? Read about the related skills and scroll down to find and download her career sheet!


Find out the key skills to becoming an Astrophysicist & Academician.

Analytical Reasoning

Strong analytical reasoning skills are important for this job since Astrophysicists must evaluate the data collected from their research and projects.

Critical thinking

Understanding connections between ideas and concepts in an organized and rational matter is fundamental in this career.


On their everyday job Astrophysicists use complex theories to analyse and report data.


Problem solving skills can help to identify problems and how to solve them during research, when things don’t always go as planned.


Space is full of yet undiscovered information. The role of an Astrophysicist is also to research, report and write about such discoveries.


During research, an Astrophysicist may encounter many obstacles, nonetheless the commitment to obtain results, is what makes you excel in this position.

Advice to take away

“If students and children are interested in the field of space and astronomy, teachers and parents should support them with appropriate resources. Visits to research centres and meeting with experts working in these fields can also be inspiring for children.”

Selçuk Topal

This career sheet was submitted by Kadriye Zobu and is among the winners of the STEM Alliance & STE(A)M IT – Professionals Go Back to Schools Competition 2021.

The STE(A)M IT project has received funding from the European Union’s ERASMUS+ programme project STE(A)M IT (Grant agreement 612845-EPP-1-2019-BE-EPPKA3-PI-FORWARD) coordinated by European Schoolnet (EUN). The content of the document is the sole responsibility of the organizer and it does not represent the opinion of the European Commission (EC), and the EC is not responsible for any use that might be made of the information contained.