On my first day in 6th grade in a new school, my Physics teacher introduced me to astronomy in the form of pictures from NASA. She always went out of her way to introduce us to concepts beyond a planned curriculum. That, coupled with a course on general relativity and a talk by Prof. Bala Iyer on the LIGO detectors, motivated me to pursue a career in gravitational wave astronomy.
Moving my life from India to Germany was one of the biggest career changes for me, and now I’m a postdoc with OzGrav at the Australian National University, in Canberra. I’ve always liked working in a lab so naturally, I chose to work on instrumentation to play around with parameters that are crucial in the design of a gravitational wave detector. For instance, for my PhD, I worked on designing and controlling the Einstein Telescope—a future gravitational wave detector planned in Europe—and now I work on quantum noise-related experiments. I also help out with the design of OzHF: a potential gravitational wave detector planned by the OzGrav community, in Australia.
Having worked with precision interferometry for so long, it’s no surprise what I enjoy doing— baking! In my spare time, I love baking all forms of cakes, cookies and other desserts. When I’m not baking, I enjoy walking and hiking around all sorts of hilly and mountainy terrains!
I’m a PhD student with Ozgrav, based at the University of Western Australia (UWA), studying the suppression of low frequency seismic noise in advanced gravitational wave detectors.
I became interested in science and engineering from a young age, building home projects with my dad. However, I didn’t take the typical academic route to where I am now. While in my final years of high school, I couldn’t concentrate and be efficient in class. So, I decided to leave school and become an electrician. I did this for 6 years, in which time I was lucky enough to work around the world on large ships. I then started working directly with the engineers for the ships. This spurred me to enrol into university where I studied electrical and control systems engineering. During my undergraduate degree, I developed a strong interest in physics (as I was not always satisfied with the approximated equations used in engineering) and as a result, added it to my studies
Once I graduated, I began working as a control systems engineer for a ship manufacturing company. Two years into this role, I found myself looking for the next challenge. I was lucky enough to find an advertisement for PhD students with the UWA Gravity Group which allowed me to combine my love of space and physics with my engineering skills. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my PhD so far, and I’m excited to see where my career goes from here.