Your Scientist ID:
Salesian High School, Richmond, CA, USA, 1999-2003; Contra Costa College, San Pablo, CA, USA, 2003-2005; UC Berkeley, CA, USA, 2005-2008; Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, 2008-2012.
UC Berkeley: AB (Bachelors) double majoring in Physics and Astrophysics; Trinity College Dublin: PhD (haven’t done my viva yet) in Physics (my thesis is on solar activity).
Particle Data Group / Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (on the UniverseAdventure.org ); Space Research Group / Space Science Laboratory (on the aurora); Astrophysics Research Group / Trinity College Dublin (on a software project to help scientists download and analyse image data).
I am working as a research fellow in the Astrophysics Research Group, continuing my PhD research and waiting to have my “viva voce” (the PhD oral exam).
Astrophysics Research Group / Trinity College Dublin. Most of my funding comes from the European Space Agency and European Union.
My Work: I am trying to find out: How do magnetic fields on the Sun lead to explosions of hot gas and radiation that endanger satellites and astronauts on space-walk?
My Typical Day: My typical day at work includes meeting a student I am supervising, or my supervisor to talk about my current project, as well as reading up on new science publications in my field, and finally doing the actual research- data analysis, testing physical models, writing up my findings, and trying to get them published!
What I'd do with the money: If I win this contest, I will use the money to hire an undergraduate student (part-time) and purchase materials to kick-off a project I have been thinking about for a long time- SolarSurfer.org, a story-driven, astronomy education website, aimed at primary and secondary students.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
In 3 words, I am driven and inspired, but scattered.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Jumped out of an airplane (with a parachute).
What did you want to be after you left school?
In my last year of secondary school I decided I wanted to be a theoretical physicist. I ended up as an experimental astrophysicist, so not too far off.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Mainly because I “forgot” to do my homework, because I was outside playing with mates or watching movies/playing video games…
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
Submitted my PhD thesis! I honestly wasn’t sure if I was able for it until the last few months.
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
(1) To get a permanent job as a researcher in Berkeley, CA, but (2) still have time to travel the world and (3) own a yacht and explore the mediterranean.
Tell us a joke.
One hydrogen atom says to another, “I lost my electron”. The other replies, “are you sure?”- he says, “I’m POSITIVE!”.