Based at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, the centre has a world-class reputation for developing innovative astronomical instruments. It works with leading organisations, such as the European Space Agency, the European Southern Observatory and NASA.
Maddie spent her week gaining a fascinating insight into the cutting-edge research which the centre undertakes.
This included testing parts of the Extremely Large Telescope using computer-aided design programmes, learning how to develop software and building a spectroscope – a piece of equipment which can analyse the elements that make up stars and planet.
There was even the chance to explore the centre’s 15,000-strong collection of rare scientific books.
Maddie said: “Every day was something completely different and there were so many things that I didn’t even know were part of the industry. The engineering side was my focus and it was incredibly exciting to explore the cutting-edge technology the centre is creating. The placement has definitely confirmed for me that I want a career in astronomy.”
The young scientist continues to go from strength to strength as she drives towards her ultimate goal of studying astrophysics at one of the world’s top universities such as Harvard or MIT.