I went to school in Dublin, then went to college in Dublin too. I have a PhD in physics.
PhD in Physics
Pharmacy in Dublin, Then I worked in a chemistry lab, then a physics lab, then another physics lab. Then another one, now I work in the UK in a physics department.
Lecturer in Physics
Laser Physicist, Physics Education Researcher.
Descriptions. Ha, I scoff at descriptions. I dunno? Science I guess. I like that. Also lasers. Oh, and hedgehogs are pretty ok. Better than wars.
Finding out how to teach physics the right way is easy if you are teaching Phoebe from Hey Arnold! or one of those Big Bang theory people….but it’s hard to do for most people. So, I try to use techniques from experimental psychology to study how students learn physics. For example – if we teach multiplication before division – does that make it easier to understand long division later on? Or does it make no difference. That stuff’s important so I do research on it.
My Typical Day
Work, coffee, teach a class, get lunch, teach more classes, go home.
I spend about 50% of my week teaching. I spend about 30% doing research – writing papers and so on. I spend about 20% doing admin type things like organizing meetings and this and all that. So…typical day? Well let’s start with today. Today I got in, then I met some students who have come into our lab to do work experience. We melted some paper with some lasers, then I took them to a meeting where we talked about a different way to teach experimental skills. Then I went to a three hour workshop where we looked at a new technique to use lasers. Oh, and I taught a class in astronomy.
What I'd do with the prize money
Physics Comedy Club
In my spare time, I am a stand up comedian / clown. I’d like to open up a comedy club where scientists do comedy about their work, and comedians do comedy about science.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Smashing the pumpkins.
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Threw away my shoes.
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Papal Infalibility, Teleportation, More Scooby Doo
Tell us a joke.
Don't you hate pants?