KICP Fellow Burcin Mutlu-Pakdil star of Science Friday documentary

October 12, 2020

Burcin Mutlu-Pakdil
Burcin Mutlu-Pakdil

KICP Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Chicago Burcin Mutlu-Pakdil is the star of a Science Friday film documentary, “Breakthrough: Portraits of Women in Science.” It recounts the Turkish-born astrophysicist's journey through STEM and breakthrough discovery of an extremely rare galaxy with a unique circular structure, which is now commonly referred to as Burçin's Galaxy. Her work has provided the first description of a double-ringed elliptical galaxy, introducing new challenges for our understanding of galaxy formation and evolution.

This documentary continues Mutlu-Pakdil's efforts as an avid ambassador for science. More than 2.5 million viewers have watched her TED talk from 2018, "A rare galaxy that is challenging our understanding of the universe."

About Breakthrough

Poster for Breakthrough docu series with Mutlu-pakdil looking through a small telescope

“Breakthrough: Portraits of Women in Science” is a short documentary anthology from Science Friday and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Tangled Bank Studios that follows women working at the forefront of their fields. Each episode blends deeply personal stories with innovative scientific research of women across STEM fields and takes viewers from volcanoes in Costa Rica to distant galaxies and beyond. By showing that challenges such as deeply-rooted cultural or institutional norms, grueling working conditions, or personal sacrifice are not insurmountable obstacles to becoming a scientist or engineer, “Breakthrough” hopes to inspire a future generation of women to lead careers in STEM fields. Learn more about the Breakthrough film series and Science Friday at

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