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.
Favourite thing to do in science: Thanks loads to all the students for making this such an amazing event! Thanks to the scientists for the great answers, the teachers for getting involved, and ModEmily for the hilarity. Can’t wait to get started on the outreach project, SolarSurfer.org … after I finish my PhD viva on Dec. 10th!! I have an idea page: http://tinyurl.com/d5lhevo If anyone (teachers, students, researchers, public, etc.) is interested in getting involved email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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!”.