About time then!
University of Florida, 2003-2008.
Ph.D in Physics
Dresden, Germany and CERN, Geneva.
Postdoctoral Research Associate
University of Glasgow
Favourite thing to do in my job: Do something none has ever done, look at something none has ever seen, think about something none has ever thought – even though at the end they may turn out to be trivial!
I use the data from the largest “science” machine ever built to learn about the tiniest of the particles!
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, Geneva smashes very high energy particles and tries to find the answer to answer “to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything”. Well almost – we want to create the condition which existed at the beginning of the universe, and learn what are the smallest building blocks of the nature. Now after each collision, hundreds of thousands of particles come out, so our task is to find out what exactly happened in that collision, shifting through all that information. This is essentially like trying to find broken pieces of a needle in the haystack!
My Typical Day
No two days are the same, but usually involves some coding, meetings and lots of emailing!
The best part about doing science is often we get to set our own schedule, and the work is hardly boring. However, since I am a part of 3000+ people strong collaboration working at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at Geneva, and the collaborators are from all over the world, the work rarely stops, and working remotely with a collaborator from USA during our late evenings are more than common. To know what happens each each collision at the LHC, we need to use write computer programs and that takes a lot of my time. I am also responsible for making sure that the postgraduate students in our group are making progress, so I spend a bit of time talking with them. These are interspersed with reading papers, thinking about the results I am getting, and talking to the collaborators at CERN and beyond, via emails, videoconferences or skype.
What I'd do with the prize money
Build an open source repository of computer programs helpful to teach physics
A website with open source physics programs, specially the ones which helps school children to visualise physics concepts can be very helpful. I plan to use to money to hold a contest among undergraduate physics students to come with such programs/apps, and also to find publicly available ones.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Passionate, adventurous, open-minded
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
Joined the LHC just before the Higgs-boson was discovered (and actually had a minor contribution to it as well!)
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My dad, and a biography of Richard Feynman.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
What is trouble?
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
A train driver, perhaps?
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
A juicy steak!
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Co-piloted a small plane for an hour (with the instructor sitting beside ;)
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Travel around the world, taste different cuisines and try out the Google Glass for free!
Tell us a joke.
Did you hear about the man who got hit by protons while trying to steal from the underground vaults of a Swiss bank in Geneva?