Date of Birth: 14th Jan 1929
T+T Icons In Science & Technology Volume I
Maura Imbert nee Cooke was born on January 14th 1929 in Dublin, Ireland. She attended St. Louis Convent for both primary and secondary schooling. She attained her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University College Dublin (1953); Master of Science in Chemistry was concluded at Trinity College, Dublin University (1968) and a doctorate in biochemistry (1973). She also completed a Master of Science degree in astronomy online from James Cook University, Australia (2005) and holds a diploma in bacteriology.
At CARIRI, Dr. Imbert pioneered research on essential oils such as thyme oil used in cosmetics. She led a project in the full utilisation of mangoes which culminated in an international conference in 1994. She researched medicinal plants and successfully test marketed a health drink based on cold-stabilised Aloe Vera gel. She developed and patented a food preservative based on spices that could be used as a substitute for chemical preservatives in some beverages. This has been successfully incorporated into the local soft drink industry. She introduced the idea of Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery to TRINTOC (now Petrotrin), a process that is successfully carried out today.
Dr. Imbert popularised the field of Astronomy for several years through her weekly newspaper column. She also authored the book “Caribbean Skies” in 1998 and edited “Tropical Skies” and “Trinidadian Skies” in 1990 and 1987 respectively. A founding member of the Trinidad and Tobago Astronomical Society, Dr. Imbert has served as its President since 1972. She was involved in the precise videotaping of the occultation of a star by Titania, one of the moons of the planet Uranus. This occultation was investigated by astronomers world-wide and as a result, this once-in-a-lifetime event can now be viewed by many international astronomical societies and on several websites.
Dr. Imbert currently teaches at UWI and she is also an industrial consultant. She is researching the Archaeoastronomy of the Arawaks and Caribs and the possibility that a “Tropical Stonehenge” exists in Antigua. A firm believer in hard work, she advises that, “one should never stop learning.” Her philosophy for life is that, “with God’s help all things are possible.” With her positive outlook on life, the stars are truly her limit.