The most exciting aspect is not only the travel, but the fact that you get to use big telescopes to observe objects that you are trying to understand that are miles and miles away.
I did my undergraduate degree in Physics, and Masters in Astrophysics, in Mexico; after that I was accepted to do my PhD at The University of Manchester. Once I finished my PhD I applied for a long list of postdocs, and luckily was offered the one I wanted the most! I received a fellowship from the European Southern Observatory to work on the radio-interferometer ALMA.
At The University of Manchester I enjoyed the observing trips and conferences.
I got to undertake observing trips to Australia, South Africa and the US. The most exciting aspect is not only the travel, but the fact that you get to use big telescopes to observe objects that you are trying to understand that are miles and miles away. It's just amazing to see them through the screen in the control room - I would say mesmerising!
At conferences you get to meet a lot of people and start building up your collaborations. What I like the most about conferences is that I get to spend time with people who think similarly to me and have the same curiosity about similar topics.
I think the main skill I got from my PhD was to be responsible. The main lesson of my whole PhD was to be efficient on what you had to do. Yes, it’s difficult to finish things when you don't have a strict deadline, but if you push yourself and stay motivated, you can do a lot of things. It's the only way you can finish a paper, or write a chapter on the thesis, or re-write a talk for a particular conference.
Thinking of choosing Physics at Manchester?
If you are already applying for a course in Physics at Manchester, then I'll congratulate you, and encourage you to finish it. I won't lie to you and say that it is going to be easy, but I don’t think it is different from any other topic. The advantage we have in astrophysics is that we get to understand the universe we live in. Deep down I think that's the whole point of it all!