I’d like my work to help change the way people think. I would be happy if I could make a very small change, but it would be great if I could make a bigger difference. I will do this by trying to find patterns and rules that govern the way the brain is organized, and by trying to understand what the different parts of the brain do and how these different functions contribute to complex everyday behaviour.
Do you mean in life? or as a scientist? i’ll answer it as if you’re asking about doing a PhD and ask me again Isabella if you meant something different.
When you start a PhD you’re basically solving some sort of problem. In the case of particle physics you’re part of a big collaboration working on an experiment. My supervisor told me the problem when I started. Basically he said to me, we’re going to fire neutrinos at oxygen atoms in this experiment, but we compare the results with neutrinos fired at carbon atoms. Since oxygen and carbon are different the neutrinos might behave differently so how could you believe your results? So he had me look at a way to get more oxygen atoms into our carbon detector.
So i did this by doing loads of experiments and testing ways to add oxygen (by adding water). I had to test lots of water based chemicals and even plastics and glues and work out how to make it. I did it through trial and error, testing things, talking to people, reading other people’s work. It was really hard but I had 4 years to do it.
That is a BIG question! On the research front I would like to think that some of the work we are doing on virus proteins will help to develop new ways of combatting disease.
On a more personal note I’d hope that the teaching and communication that I do at my university (but also here and on my blog(?)) might act as some kind of inspiration to others to get interested in science, which I think is such a powerful way of looking at the world.
But at the end of the day I will be immensely proud if I can help to make sure that my children grow up healthy and happy.