Frequently Asked Questions

I get a lot of emails and messages from people asking a variety of questions about becoming a physicist and quantum physics. I thought I’d put together an FAQ which you can check before contacting me just in case I’ve answered your query before. For questions around my lived experience as an autsitic person, I have a separate FAQ. Also, if I don’t respond to your message or email I’m very sorry – I get a lot, and I don’t always have the time or energy around doing my PhD to answer them all.

(Questions are listed in no particular order)

I want to be a quantum physicist! Can you give me advice?

It’s awesome that you’re interested in quantum physics. Quantum technology is a great field to be in and there’s more to it than just quantum computing! If you’d like to know how I got into this field, I wrote a blog post about it which you can read here. My main piece of advice is to focus on maths and physics at school. You might also want to develop your programming and communication skills. I think that the most accessible programming language (and one of the most useful in physics research) is python and there are plenty of online resources for learning to code in python! There is also a variety of quantum computing software (such as qiskit) that you can learn online if you want to get more familiar with quantum computing. If you can, getting research experience really helps, whether it’s in theoretical or experimental research. You can look to see if local universities offer work experience or summer placements to get hands-on research experience. Good luck!

Will you present at my event / speak on my radio show / appear on my podcast or online video / write for my publication?

Yes! I’d love to if it fits in with my schedule. You can find out more about what I can offer on my personal website here and feel free to email me with the details. I always try to do outreach whenever I can, but the limitation is always time – it can be hard to fit in extra things around PhD research, science communication, and home life. 

I have a theory about quantum physics. Will you read it?

No. I’m really sorry but as a working researcher, I don’t have time to read everyone’s theories unless they are published in a peer-reviewed journal or on the arXiv where I keep up to date with the quantum physics, condensed matter, and applied physics pages. If you have a paper that you think I would find interesting, feel free to send me a link but I can’t guarantee I will read it. As I said, I have limited time and while I would love to read everything published on quantum technology, it’s not really physically possible for me to, so I have to be selective.

Do you have any advice for scientists who want to use Instagram to talk about science?

This is a big topic and one that I’m sure I will write about more in the future. Using social media to communicate science can be really effective. I would encourage you to find a niche in terms of the science content you put out but also don’t be afraid to experiment with things a bit. The nice thing about instagram is that you can do microblogging in your caption and accompany it with a nice image (or images, or video) and it also has a huge userbase so there’s plenty of people who could potentially become your audience! I like to use my instagram page to talk about day-to-day PhD life, chat about physics concepts related to my research, share interesting papers I’ve read recently, discuss D&I topics, and sometimes just post a picture of my cat. If you want to connect with people, being yourself and sharing what you do outside of science can really help with that! I also recommend limiting your social media use if you can. It can become very addicting getting that little dopamine hit so often, so I block instagram most of the time and unblock it for about half an hour a day to post, reply to comments, and browse tags that I’m interested in.

Where can I find other physicists to follow on social media?

 There are so many fantastic physicists on social media! This is a great list of physicists on twitter and here is my ever-growing physicists twitter list.
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