Steven Samuels

  • PhD student
  • CDM & EQUS
  • University of Western Australia
  • Road-tripping around VIC/NSW

What do you do?

Did you know that there is mysterious, invisible stuff that might be passing through us right now?  You can’t see its effects with your eyes but if you really zoom into the sky at night using special telescopes, you’ll notice that these things are able to use gravity to pull on other stars and even light itself!  In fact, these things can keep stars, planets and dust clouds grouped together in a formation we call galaxies.  We call these invisible things dark matter and my job as a physicist is to help the scientific community find out what dark matter is made up of and how it behaves.  To detect dark matter, we can use really cool devices and machines that take advantage of the behaviour of the very tiny particles that make up our world.  We call these devices and machines quantum technologies.  My job as a scientist is to work with other scientists to not only detect dark matter, but also to come up with newer and better quantum technologies that are applicable to other things like computers and material science!

How did you get to where you are today?

I studied mostly STEM subjects when I was in primary school, high school and university.  I chose to get into a physics/engineering-related career because I was very interested in how our universe works and enjoy the creative problem solving aspect of it.

What’s the best thing about your role?

Every day is different and there is always something interesting to work on.

What advice would you give to someone considering studying science?

It’s a common misconception that STEM-related work is not as creative as the arts.  This is far from the truth!  STEM requires the same amount of creativity as the arts, it’s just done in a different way and for a different purpose.  There is also no such thing as a ‘math person’ or a ‘physics person’, anyone can become better at maths and physics!  My advice is this: if you’re struggling with maths and physics, try to identify what exactly you can’t understand and see whether you can fix this by either catching up on the preliminary materials you might’ve missed or by shifting your perspective on it by understanding it from a different angle (try to think outside the box).

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I enjoy outdoor activities like rock climbing and diving but also working out at the gym, watching documentaries and playing video games.

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