Harish Potti

  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • CDM
  • University of Adelaide
  • Road-tripping Bendigo to Adelaide

What do you do?

I’m an experimental particle physicist.  Through my research, I try to answer questions like:  

  • What are the fundamental particles that make up our Universe?  By fundamental particles I mean those that cannot be broken down into smaller particles. 
  • How do these fundamental particles interact with each other? 
  • How many such particles exist? 

My favourite particle is the “top quark”.  The top quark is special because it is the heaviest fundamental particle that we have discovered so far.  Most of my research focuses on how the top quark interacts with other particles like photons and the Higgs boson. 

How did you get to where you are today?

When I was a kid, I used to read articles on dark matter and anti-matter in newspapers.  They increased my enthusiasm towards physics and science in general.  So, I chose physics as my major while pursuing undergraduate studies in India.  Then, I moved to the US to get a PhD in particle physics.  Just after getting my doctoral degree, I came to Australia to work as a researcher at the University of Adelaide.

What’s the best thing about your role?

I get to work with brilliant people from more than 90 different countries of the world.  Even though they all are from different cultures and backgrounds, they have one common goal: understanding our Universe better.  I consider myself to be very lucky to work and interact with them every day.

I love traveling to new places.  As part of my work, I visited many countries and cities for research collaboration purposes and conferences.  This is a huge plus for me 🙂

What advice would you give to someone considering studying science?

Don’t be scared to ask questions.  Even the most intelligent people were not experts when they were young.  They became creative by reading books, asking questions and doing experiments.  So, never ever hesitate to ask “Why?”.

If you want to become a scientist, only two things are required: 

  1. An inner curiosity to explore & understand the rules of nature  
  2. Willingness to work hard to get things done 

It does not matter what your race/gender/orientation/background is.  Always believe in yourself.  Also, do not hesitate to contact the experts in the field you are interested in for mentoring or their suggestions on reading materials. 

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I love running.  I participated in many half-marathons in the past and I am still continuing it.  I also like hiking and playing board games with friends.  If I get stressed due to work, I do yoga and meditation at home to feel relaxed. 

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