Tim Hirsch

  • PhD student
  • EQUS
  • University of Queensland
  • Road-tripping Bendigo to Adelaide

What do you do?

I’m making a computer out of tiny vibrating trampolines.  The trampolines have a special property called nonlinearity, which means they can vibrate in two different ways (either a little bit, or a lot).  We can say one way represents “false” and the other way represents “true”, and then solve basic logic equations.  A computer built this way could survive strong radiation that would damage a normal computer—for example, on a satellite in space. 

How did you get to where you are today?

I went into uni sure I cared about climate change but not of much else, so I did a science degree and tried out various subjects.  Turns out I enjoyed maths and physics the most, plus doing research.  A PhD seemed like a way to do more of what I was enjoying and develop useful skills for later in life.  My current project interested me because the physics is simple to explain yet deep, the concept is novel, and I get to do theory, design, production and testing. 

What’s the best thing about your role?

I love that I get to be curious and keep learning every day. 

What advice would you give to someone considering studying science?

Do it!  The skills you learn will useful regardless of what you do afterwards. 

What are your plans for your research?

Not sure—whatever lets me do the day-to-day physics that I enjoy and work on something I care about. 

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