For our final interview of the term, we spoke to Dr. Christina Schoettler, a Research Associate in the Astrophysics group.
As an introduction, what is your area of expertise within Physics?
I’m an astronomer by trade and by experience as well. I work mainly in star and planet formation, trying to figure out how planetary systems form around stars and how they’re affected by their birth environments, which is something I talked about a few weeks ago as well (in the Research Frontiers lecture). I’m looking at how the birth environment affects star clusters and planet formation with the end goal of trying to figure out why we find so few systems that look like ours for example and just generally trying to better understand the universe around us.
This week we spoke to Dr. Sarah Thomas, a Research Fellow in quantum optics and an alumni of the CDT in Controlled Quantum Dynamics.
What was your path into Physics like?
As a child I was always very curious and inquisitive, and was always trying to work out how things worked. My family is also very science-y, my grandad was a physicist, so I was always encouraged to figure out how things worked and solve puzzles. I really enjoyed Maths and Physics at school, and I couldn’t decide which one I wanted to do, so for my undergrad I did Maths and Physics for my first year. From the second year on, I decided to focus on Physics. I think for me, it was because I enjoyed that it was more practical, more related to the real world, and I enjoyed that aspect more than the more abstract side of Maths.