Elisabeth Wagner

  • PhD student
  • EQUS
  • Macquarie University
  • Road-tripping Sydney to Bendigo

How did you get to where you are today?

I was interested in many subjects after high school—philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, to name just a few.  In the end I’ve chosen to study physics because I considered it to be a good match for both my passion and my skill sets.  (I remember having enjoyed writing a 20-page philosophy essay about happiness in my last year of high school, but I couldn’t imagine keeping doing that during a five-year-long degree.  Solving crazy math riddles all night on the other hand?  Yes, that’s me.)

What’s the best thing about your role?

Doing a PhD gives you a lot of freedom.  You can choose and set the focus of your research, choose with whom you are working to some degree, and develop an independent, critical way of thinking.  Some of my favourite things are the workshops and conferences PhD students can attend—they are a good reminder of being part of a great smart global community tackling some of the most pressing unsolved problems out there.

What advice would you give to someone considering studying physics?

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.  It’s normal to have doubts and be unsure.  Just start with the subject you find most interesting, and you will find a career path along the way which will bring you joy and also contribute to society.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I have absolutely loved bushwalking and spending time outside ever since I was a kid.  I tend to get the best ideas and make the best life decisions when I am in nature.  I’ve been all around Sydney, on a few solo pilgrimages on the Caminos the Santiago, in the Alps, and the Himalaya.  Indoors, I enjoy a daily gym routine, detox in the sauna, and listen to heaps of podcasts.

View all road-trippers