Name: Amelia Drew
Current position: Post doc
Affiliation: Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge
Field of research: Cosmic strings and numerical relativity
What is your career trajectory to date?
I did my PhD in DAMTP, graduating in 2021, and have remained there for my first postdoc as a Junior Research Fellow at Homerton College.
What are the most exciting open questions in your research area?
There are some really key points about cosmic string networks which are yet to be agreed upon within the community, primarily what are their radiative signatures, including gravitational waves and axion radiation. Whether or not cosmic strings are present in our Universe is also clearly an exciting question!
What do you like and dislike about being a scientist?
I love the autonomy, and the ability to work every day on projects that I find interesting with interesting people. I dislike the pressure that comes from being self-motivated and the lack of job security.
Which of your skills are you most proud of, or find most useful?
In terms of 'traditional' skills, I am proud of my coding ability and the high level of rigour that I generally apply to my work. I really enjoy meeting new physicists and making connections, which is very useful for discussing new project ideas, especially interdisciplinary ones. I am also proud of the high standard of the outreach projects that I have participated in or delivered.
In your career so far, at what point were you the most excited, and what were you excited about?
Scientifically, I really enjoyed the Cosmic Strings Workshop that I attended in Leiden in 2018. As an early PhD student, it was great to meet a lot of the people within the community. I was also excited when the NanoGRAV stochastic gravitational wave background results came out in 2020. In terms of career progression, I was incredibly excited when I found out that I got my current Fellowship!
What new skills would you like to learn in the next year?
I would like to improve at prioritising finishing off existing projects rather than getting carried away with starting new ones!
What advances or new results are you excited about or looking forward to?
I am certainly looking forward to the launch of LISA!
What is the biggest obstacle that is slowing down your research field right now?
Probably lack of sufficient computing power, although it is improving rapidly.
What role do you think a community network like EuCAPT can play in developing theoretical astroparticle physics and cosmology in Europe?
I think communities like EuCAPT are vital to ECRs, especially following the last 2 years of COVID. They facilitate connections to enable exciting scientific collaboration between institutes.
What’s your favorite food?
Have you lived in a different European country than you do now? If so, would you like to tell us something about it, e.g. a fond memory or something you found surprising?
No, although I take every possible opportunity to travel. I lived in France for a couple of months when I was a teenager, and I am absolutely in love with the country and the culture. I am also particularly fond of Amsterdam.
How do you like to relax after a hard day of work?
Reading, Netflix or a bath!
Do you have any non-physics interests that you would like to share?
I enjoy running and am currently training for the Cambridge Half Marathon. I also really enjoy yoga, although I have let this slide recently..
If you were not a scientist, what do you think you would be doing?
I very nearly pursued the path to become a professional violinist, so maybe that!
What do you hope to see accomplished scientifically in the next 50 years?
I hope that we will gain some brand new insight into physics that we haven't yet even conceptualised.
What question would you have liked us to ask you, and what would you have responded?