At the moment I am processing some radar data when I am not chatting to you guys!
Education:Northampton School for Girls & University of Leicester.
Qualifications:A-Levels (Physics, Maths, Art, French, and German), MPhys degree in Physics & a PhD (and an orange belt in Karate!)
Work History:University of Leicester and Lancaster University
Researcher in Space Plasma Physics
My connections to STFC science and technology:
My PhD project was funded by STFC
Favourite thing to do in my job: Talk to other scientists about things we still want to find out!
When I was younger, I was really bad at maths...
…but now I am a physicist (for which I have to know a lot of maths)!
I live in Lancaster and I have a lot of hobbies.
I spend a lot of time doing sports:
🤺🥊🥋⛸🏄♀️🏊♀️🏋️♀️ (I love fencing and surfing and last year I started learning Karate!)
When I don’t d0 sports, I eat or cook! I love making fresh food and trying new flavours.
I love the summer and the sunshine! ☀️🍉⛱😎🌅🌄🌻🏄♀️
Is looking at the Earth's magnetic field and space!
My work is about working out how the Sun and Earth are connected. This happens via electric and magnetic fields!
I look at radar and spacecraft data to see what’s going on out there..
The Earth has a magnetic field, which we can’t see by eye.
This field is REALLY big and goes really far into space.
And it’s connected to the Sun’s magnetic field.
I look at how the two are connected and how it changes over time.
Because we can’t see it by eye, we have to use spacecraft that can measure it for us!
And we can see the aurora (or northern lights), which are there because of our magnetic field.
They change over time too and it’s one of the things we can look at.
The spacecraft then send us the data back to Earth (like measurements of the magnetic field, particles, or pictures of the aurora), so we can look at it.
🌐🚀 ➔ ➔ ➔🛰 ➔ 📧 ➔🌐
I also look at how the Sun-Earth connection changes things in the most upper parts of the atmosphere. Like: “How can changes in the Sun’s magnetic field affect our weather?” and “Can we predict what will happen better?”
To look at this, I use data from radars.
I spend most of my day in front of a computer, analysing my data.
To do this I have to write a lot of programming code!
The code then makes plots and diagrams of the data, so it is easier to understand by humans.
My Typical Day
cycle to work, science, coffee & cake, sport (fencing!), FOOD, sleep!
It’s all about finding out new things and asking questions!
And then I have to go and find answers.
I do this by looking at data.
It’s fun because I get to ask questions that I think are interesting. And I work with people who work on similar problems.
And when we get stuck we talk to each other about how we can solve them.
Because the spacecraft and radars collect all the data for us, most of our problems are about how do we find out what the data means? And how is the data from different space missions connected?
Some of my colleagues work on data from different planets or moons in our solar system, so I know a lot about those too.
Most of the problems we come up against, involve computers. So, I guess over time, I have become a bit of a computer-whizz!
What I'd do with the prize money
Make gherkins glow in the dark by building a pickle-torch!
I looooove pickles. They belong to some of my favourite foods in the whole world!
But you know what’s better than eating them? Making them glow in the dark.
We can make them glow like a streetlamp but to do it (SAFELY!), we need to build a box that can help us keep the electricity contained. I will build a pickle-torch without the risk of electrocution! This is the kind of experiment where you WILL DIE if you do it wrong. Electricity can be really dangerous, so…
…DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!
It will be a bit like this, but safer:
Seriously. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!
I would use the money to commission our technology workshop at the University to build us a safe pickle-torch! I will then take the pickle-torch on trips to schools and other science events to talk about the science behind the glowing pickle and the aurora.
With it, we can explain how photons are emitted (the physical principles behind the light being generated are the same as the aurora!).
Once we’ve built it, we will then put plans online of how we did it and how you can do similar (but safe) experiments at home and in your science classes at school.
It will be the ultimate show-and-tell with an actual experiment that would be too dangerous to do otherwise . It will be (SAFE AND) FUN to look at for children and adults alike!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
space plasma physicist
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My own curiosity
What was your favourite subject at school?
Art! (I hated PE and maths)
What did you want to be after you left school?
An airline pilot
Were you ever in trouble at school?
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
A fashion designer
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Learning to surf!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Be able to bring happiness to everyone around me, have the ability to make the sun come out whenever I want, and have another free 1 million wishes!
Tell us a joke.
What did the fish say when it swam into a wall? - Oh, dam!