I’ve always enjoyed maths especially when trying to understand physics. An Astronomer tries to understand the Universe mostly using mathematical models. I spend most of my day using a computer to create codes, modelling astrophysical sources and solving equations. I also investigate data taken with telescopes. A large part of my day will be spent helping students and preparing lectures. I could be giving a talk at a school, another University or a conference, even using an Hawaiian telescope. There are always questions to ask, problems to solve, research meetings to attend and articles to write.
I’m a curious person so doing something challenging everyday was a key factor when deciding what career to choose. To be an academic, it helps to be competitive, hard-working, have excellent motivational, management and team working skills and of course, you need to enjoy the subject!
RCUK case studies: Dr Chris North
Postdoctoral Research Assistant at Cardiff University, UK Herschel Outreach Officer, Astronomical researcher and subsequently, presenter on BBC Sky at Night