Question: how did you get into your field of science?
Andy Buckley answered on 13 Mar 2019:
Luck, luck, luck, I think. A lot of scientists in my field comment that they look at the people applying now, and wonder how they ever got in, let alone made a success of it. I guess we tend to be a bit blind to our own abilities.
I got interested in physics while at school… but not *because* of school. Maybe I saw some sci-fi on TV (I do remember one film with scientists in white coats and a sort of wormhole portal thing, which I thought was cool…), and I joined one of those monthly book club things and read a lot of pop-science books though that. I was influenced by Richard Feynman’s “QED: the Strange Theory of Light and Matter”, which was the first time I felt I was hearing directly from someone on the bleeding edge of human knowledge. And when the Web became available (yes, I’m that old… through school I just had books, and then the Encarta computer encyclopedia on a CD!), I got talking with scientists a bit on online forums.
So then I went to university to do physics, and luckily I did really like it even though it becomes very different (better, I thought!) than at school. For a while I thought I wanted to do something astrophysicsy, but then got drawn into particle physics and haven’t looked back. It would be nice to reconnect with astro someday!
Sophia Pells answered on 13 Mar 2019:
A little bit by accident really (or luck). In the final year of my physics degree we had to do a research project and I saw there was one at a hospital that looked interesting so I applied for that. Before that I didn’t even know that this area of nuclear physics and medicine combined was a thing and I had never heard of MEDICIS at CERN. I ended up really loving the project and then found the uni was offering a PhD in the same area so I decided to do that 🙂
Sarah O'Sullivan answered on 14 Mar 2019:
By chance really. I’d finished my physics degree and just started applying for anything, including PhDs. I ended up with a few offers but chose nuclear because it sounded cool
Meirin Oan Evans answered on 14 Mar 2019:
Through taking one small decision at a time. At every decisional crossroad I asked myself “What will I enjoy the most?”. I chose to do physics at university, even though I was probably a little bit better at maths at school. When I got to master’s level (usually 4th year of study after leaving school), I had to choose from a list of possible research projects. The one that really jumped out at me combined particle physics with education. I chose this one even though I hadn’t specialised in particle physics up to then. I loved my master’s project, and the opportunity came up to develop this work during a PhD… That’s where I am now!