A few years ago, as an art student, I happened to see an exhibition by Conrad Shawcross, Loop System Quintet, that dealt with the (very) basic concepts of string theory. This moment was the catalyst that would ultimately see me pursuing physics academically. I began reading all the popular science books and magazines that I could get my hands on, watching hours of documentaries and learned that string theory, in part, hopes to reconcile the two great theories of 20th Century physics: quantum mechanics and general relativity. So to understand these theories, with a view to one day being a part of the effort to resolve their incompatibility, has always been the primary motivation behind my studies.
I have since completed my BSc in Theoretical Physics – also at Queen Mary – and am currently a first year EuroMasters student. I decided to apply for the masters course whilst working on my dissertation on the thermodynamics of black holes, during which I had a very brief introduction to stuff like quantum field theory and AdS/CFT correspondence. This taster of working with some of the deeper concepts within contemporary physics left me with no doubts that I wanted to continue my studies. The fulfilment I gained from working on the project also informed my decision to choose the EuroMasters, with its greater emphasis on research, over the MSc.
Having been an undergrad at Queen Mary, I chose to stay here, primarily because the School’s research interests correlate strongly with my own. I also like that it is a fairly small department which means that there is a lot of access to support; if you’re stuck on something you can usually speak with an academic or PhD student who will help clarify any tricky concepts. University isn’t solely about academia, however, and Queen Mary’s location means access to the plethora of experiences that London has to offer; I have been fortunate to attend many exhibitions, plays and concerts that I would not have had the chance to elsewhere in the country – some here on campus.