Postdoctoral Research Associate
Department of Mathematics, University of Portsmouth
What inspired you to pursue a career in STEM?
I think it was the subject itself! I’ve always wanted to do something that involved maths, for as long as I can remember (except for a few weeks at primary school, when apparently I wanted to be an ice skater). I was also very keen to work in a field that involved planets and space exploration, although this may be attributable to a misspent youth reading too much science fiction!
What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
The project I’m currently working wins this one. I’m helping design orbits for solar sail space missions. Solar sails are a type of spacecraft that use radiation pressure as a means of moving around the Solar System (or beyond). They’ve been around as an idea in science fiction for ages, but are now starting to become a feasible technology. The maths involved is really interesting and the project is aiming to find practical applications in space exploration too, so it’s just a brilliant topic to work on.
Currently the whole of Team GB, especially the women’s rowing squad!
Why do you love working in STEM?
There are a lot of reasons! But getting to do maths all day and getting to work on cool projects are two of the main ones. Being able to do something both challenging and enjoyable as a job is just fantastic.
Advice for future STEMinists?
Don’t give up, no matter how frustrating things get!
I think it has to be www.xkcd.com.