Name: Andrius Tamošiūnas
Current position: Postdoc
Affiliation: University of Nottingham
Field of research: Cosmology
What is your career trajectory to date?
My physics journey started with an undergraduate masters degree at the University of Edinburgh (2010-2015). There I grew interested in cosmology and astroparticle physics. After a brief stint as a data scientist in the airline industry (2015-2017) I came back to academia in order to pursue a PhD in cosmology. In particular, I have worked on cosmological and astrophysical tests of modified gravity at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation (ICG) at the University of Portsmouth (2017-2020). Since then, I've been extending my studies of modified gravity at the University of Nottingham, where I am a postdoctoral research associate.
What are the most exciting open questions in your research area?
The key questions in the field of gravity are related to the major contemporary problems in cosmology: dark energy and dark matter. In particular, can we build a self-consistent theory that explains dark matter and/or dark energy? Can we build a theory that fits all the key cosmological datasets? Similarly, can theories of modified gravity offer a valid explanation for some of the tensions (e.g. H0 tension) currently discussed in cosmology?
What do you like and dislike about being a scientist?
I love the academic community and the ample opportunities to travel. Admittedly, though, the nomadic lifestyle of an aspiring academic can often be stressful.
Which of your skills are you most proud of, or find most useful?
I think the most important skills that we are taught in grad school is problem solving as well as acquiring and analysing information efficiently. I believe that these two skills can be applied in nearly every field.
In your career so far, at what point were you the most excited, and what were you excited about?
I am glad to say that right now is the most exciting stage of my career so far. Being a postdoc offers a lot of time and freedom to work on new and exciting projects.
What new skills would you like to learn in the next year?
I'd love to find out more about the work of our fellow astronomers in other fields. E.g. I would love to expand my knowledge of SETI and exoplanet research.
What advances or new results are you excited about or looking forward to?
I believe we are living through fascinating times as a number of observational surveys are starting operation. I am especially excited about the first results from Euclid, LSST and JWST surveys.
What is the biggest obstacle that is slowing down your research field right now?
Perhaps the most important event in the last decade, when it comes to modified gravity, has been the GW 170817 neutron star merger. Along with the electromagnetic counterpart, the gravitational wave event provided some of the strongest constraints on the speed of gravitational waves, ruling out a vast set of modified gravity models overnight. I think it's fair to say that the practitioners of the field are currently looking for new models and, most importantly, novel ideas of how to deal with ever-tightening observational constraints, while still trying to keep the models relatively simple.
What role do you think a community network like EuCAPT can play in developing theoretical astroparticle physics and cosmology in Europe?
It could help the field grow and flourish by connecting researchers from different disciplines and organising international conferences.
What’s your favorite food?
Do you have any non-physics interests that you would like to share?
I like to read and (secretly) write bad poetry. I'm also a fan of philosophy.
What do you hope to see accomplished scientifically in the next 50 years?
While not directly related to my field, I would love to see more efforts devoted towards defending our planet from possibly dangerous asteroids. Recent efforts by the NASA and the Chinese National Space Science Center scientists is a promising first step towards learning how to physically deflect dangerous asteroids.