The joy of journal clubs

Presenting papers in journal clubs is one of my least favourite things to do. While I enjoy reading in general, I find reading academic papers a chore, especially if the writing is uninspired or the results obscured by reams of unfamiliar theory. However, papers are the currency of academia and, to stretch the analogy, journal…… Continue reading The joy of journal clubs

If at first you don’t succeed: Madrid week five

Last week was a week of success for me. I solved a problem that’s been plaguing me for about six months! I’m not going to talk in great detail about what exactly the problem was (I’m saving that for a post in a couple of weeks’ time), but it was one of those small, persistent…… Continue reading If at first you don’t succeed: Madrid week five

Surviving burn out and the post-paper blues

I published my first paper at the end of February. I won’t beat about the bush: writing this paper was exhausting. I’d had unrealistic expectations for how quickly I’d get publishable results, and consequently every delay to our draft felt like a disaster. At first we were going to be ready by July (2018). Then…… Continue reading Surviving burn out and the post-paper blues

A collaborative week in Leiden

I spent the past week at the Lorentz Institute, the theoretical cosmology part of the physics community at Leiden University. My collaborators there are fellow members of CANTATA, an EU COST-Action that is mainly focused on creating and testing alternative theories of gravity, and I was awarded my second STSM (short-term scientific mission) by CANTATA…… Continue reading A collaborative week in Leiden

Slow progress — but progress nonetheless

This week I’m in the Netherlands, visiting colleagues at the Lorentz Institute at Leiden University. Leiden is a beautiful place– a scaled-down, tourist-free version of Amsterdam– and the institute is nice too. It’s the oldest theoretical physics institute in the Netherlands and has played host to many greats of the field, including Ehrenfest, Fermi and…… Continue reading Slow progress — but progress nonetheless

Year Two

It turns out that maintaining a blog is somewhat difficult when faced with the time-consuming Cerberus that is a PhD. But, fuelled with a desire to practice my non-technical writing, I am dusting off my typing fingers and trying again. Two weeks ago I had my Major Review, which is essentially Portsmouth’s qualifying exam for…… Continue reading Year Two

Applying for a PhD in physics

Almost exactly one year ago, I sent my final two applications off for PhD places in cosmology. One year on, as my department prepares to interview the candidates for October 2018 entry, I wanted to reflect on the application process. In total, I sent off nine applications and had three interviews. I was fortunate in…… Continue reading Applying for a PhD in physics

2017 Summer Schools

My PhD has (almost) officially begun, and this summer I attended two summer schools in preparation for the year ahead. The first was STFC’s Introductory Summer School for students in astronomy and related disciplines, and was held over the course of a week at the University of Manchester. There was a relaxed programme of events…… Continue reading 2017 Summer Schools


The sun was shining yesterday as I graduated from Aberystwyth with my friends and classmates in a lovely ceremony and celebration. Following the formalities, the Physics department hosted a reception where we had a department photograph and some prizes were awarded. I was very surprised and humbled to be awarded the Breen Prize for best…… Continue reading Graduation