I’d always been interested in science and loved reading about our solar system when I was younger.
The moment that really cemented that I wanted to study astrophysics was watching the film Interstellar by Christopher Nolan. I came away from the film feeling amazed and knowing that a lot of the film was based on real physics, so I needed to know how it all worked!
I chose to study physics not just because I had an interest in science and the workings of the universe, but because I wanted to study a subject that would challenge me and allow me to see applications of maths in the real world.
Christopher Fisher, MPhys Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology
I chose Portsmouth because they offered a course in Astrophysics and Cosmology, and the course was supported by the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation (ICG).
When I first started physics I had a particular interest in space. There were definitely times in my astrophysics and general relativity modules where my mind was blown. Properties about the universe that are displayed through maths amaze me, and it still fascinates me how physicists use the forefront of technology to discover the secrets of the universe.
My top two achievements from my time at university are my master’s project and winning the University of Portsmouth Physics Student of the Year for my first, second, and fourth years. My master’s project was on the calibration of stellar population models using globular clusters. I’m proud of my project because not only did I find it challenging, but it helped make progress at the forefront of astrophysics and I was awarded a first class for it.
My Master’s project supervisor, Claudia Maraston, was a great inspiration to me, always enthused in my work and made time for my questions.
My degree gave me a great foundation in coding and programming. I used these skills to secure an industrial placement year where I furthered my skills and gained commercial coding experience. My studies also taught me many problem-solving techniques and how to break down seemingly difficult problems into smaller, more manageable problems to solve.
Physics is a fantastic course to study at Portsmouth. It’s a challenging, fun, and interesting degree that teaches you both technical and soft skills that will help you flourish in whatever path you choose to take. The staff are immensely knowledgeable and world experts in their fields — they’re dedicated and enthusiastic to share their knowledge to help you succeed here at Portsmouth.
Christopher Fisher, MPhys Physics with Astrophysics and Cosmology graduate
It’s important to build up a network with your fellow students, lecturers, and co-workers, as this can help open opportunities for you in the future and further grow your skill sets to help you reach your goals.
During university, I did two summer placements and worked part-time during my Master’s with a company called Datavault. I managed to get the two placements through an organisation called SEPnet (South East Physics Network).
Datavault is a consultancy firm based on Hayling Island that specialises in building business intelligence solutions using the Data Vault 2.0 data warehousing method. As a Data Engineer with the firm, I completed two projects.
The first project was a programme that helped migrate a client’s data from an old system to a new one. The second project was a proof of concept of the Data Vault 2.0 methodology on a partner’s cloud data platform. This project was the beginnings of our tool, AutomateDV. We now use AutomateDV with many clients, and it has a lot of interest in the Data Engineering community.
During my placements I enjoyed using and building on my technical skills that I learnt on my course, as well as learning completely new skills that helped further my studies when I returned. Once I finished university I was offered a full-time position at Datavault as a Consultant Data Engineer and since then I’ve helped the company grow, and continue to help clients implement their business strategies using data.
I plan to continue working with Datavault to help the company grow more and progress my skills further in the industry. The skills I learnt throughout my time at the University of Portsmouth and my industrial placement helped me get to the position I’m in today, and will help me throughout my whole career.
Studying a degree is a fantastic step to help you find your career path. Whether that is in academia or in industry, your degree is a crucial steppingstone to begin it.
Christopher Fisher, MPhys Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology graduate
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