Physics graduates have incredibly powerful skills. The most important one is the ability to build abstract models of complicated phenomena. Not everyone can do this. It is what makes you a physicist. We are not like normal people!
I came to Manchester in 2007, and I couldn’t imagine a more welcoming department. Working here as a researcher is great because it is a big University with lots of opportunities. Studying physics here must be an amazing experience. Taught by enthusiastic lecturers in a forward-looking School, with a proud history, and in a friendly, welcoming and international atmosphere. Among Manchester's physics staff and students you'll get to meet some of the brightest people on the planet.
I work in the area of statistical physics of complex systems, especially the application of ideas from physics to problems in game theory, evolution, biology, and cancer initiation. I’m a theorist so our work is all about calculations and computer simulations. We work a lot with colleagues in the Life Sciences. Studying new problems and finding answers is incredibly rewarding. The most important words in physics are “Hang on, …” and “What if …?”. They lead you to new questions, discoveries and excitement. I have the best job in the world.
When you lecture you want to teach students the main concepts of an area of physics, and to prepare them for the exam. That’s the standard bit. The more interesting element is to provide a wider view. I try to use material from my research as much as possible, and to give students an outlook on how they might use what they learn in 3, 5 or 10 years time. And finally, doing physics is a way of life. After a degree in physics, things will never be the same. You may not realise it as an undergraduate, but physics graduates have incredibly powerful skills. The most important one is the ability to build abstract models of complicated phenomena. Not everyone can do this. It is what makes you a physicist. We are not like normal people!
I am also the Erasmus coordinator for our School (Programme Director Physics with Study in Europe). I grew up in Germany, French was one of my A-levels, and I have studied and worked in three European countries (Germany, Italy, UK). Going abroad teaches you a lot about life, about yourself and — most of all — about your home country. It’s an incredible opportunity!