Lachlan Rogers

  • Physics lecturer and experimental physicist
  • EQUS
  • University of Newcastle
  • Road-tripping Alice to Broome (2024), Sydney to Perth and behind the scenes (2018)

What do you do?

I shine lasers at diamonds to make them glow!  Glowing diamonds can be used to make ‘quantum technology’ such as quantum computers or medical sensors.  The glowing light lets me talk and listen to single atoms in the crystal.  Diamonds can be shiny and sparkly, but they also have really interesting science details.  For example, they are made of carbon and so are we!  This means tiny diamonds can be put inside living things to do cutting-edge ‘quantum’ measurements (not humans just yet, but maybe soon).  I do my research in a lab which has lasers that can be dangerous.  I don’t wear a lab coat, but I do sometimes have to wear laser safety goggles which are like special sunglasses that block the colour of the laser beam.  I’m now also a teacher at university, so I spend half of my time telling students about all sorts of awesome science things.

How did you get to where you are today?

I enjoyed science and maths at school, and did as much of them as I could.  After year 12 I studied maths and physics at university until I had to pick just one of them to get into even more deeply.  I chose physics partly as a cheat option—it lets me still do lots of interesting maths!  I actually did some research about near-Earth space (where satellites live) which was amazing, but the measurements were made by satellites that I couldn’t play with.  I realised I wanted to do more hands-on experimental work.  That’s when I sort of accidentally stumbled onto the topic of glowing quantum diamonds, and I was hooked for life.

What’s the best thing about your job?

I’m passionate about discovering and communicating science ideas that can change the world.  Glowing diamonds are very cool, but the thing I get most excited about in my work is sharing fascinating science ideas with other people, including students.

What advice would you give to someone considering studying science?

Go for it!  Science (especially physics) is like a gym for your brain.  It makes you stronger in all sorts of ways (solving hard problems, logical thinking, creativity, clear communication, teamwork, and so many more).  These are useful everywhere in life, even if you end up working as something other than a ‘scientist’.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Lego, board games, bike riding, music, photography, hiking and camping, watching live-streams of rocket launches, and working on a home-built battery to power my house off-grid!  I also play trombone in a brass band.

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