Julia Jaeger

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The experience confirmed the choice I made about my career path.

Since I started studying Mathematical Physics in Edinburgh I have been sure that I would like to study for a PhD and become a theoretical physicist.  However, without any research experience it is very hard to decide what I should specialise in during my PhD.  I therefore thought it would be a great opportunity to take part in the School’s Career Development Scheme. 

I got to work under the supervision of Prof Arjun Berera and one of his PhD students.  I worked in the Particle Physics Theory group on the project Magnetic helicity and self-organisation in magnetised plasmas. Magnetic helicity plays an important role in self-organisation processes of turbulent magnetised plasmas. Examples range from large scale magnetic field formation in the intergalactic medium to solar physics and controlled nuclear fusion. The project was mainly analytical in nature, therefore the Navier-Stokes equation and induction equation were analysed using helical decompositions.

There are several different skills I gained during the project. First of all it was interesting to combine and use the material I had previously studied to learn about completely new topics. Additionally it was a completely new experience to work on an extensive problem for a long period of time, trying out various different methods. Now I know how rewarding it is to find some significant results, even if you do not know what to expect at first.

In addition to the work on my project, there were several talks given within the department that I was able to attend. This was a great way of seeing advances in related areas of research.

The experience also confirmed the choice I made about my career path. Trying to explain physical systems and analytically examining features of theories is a very interesting and exciting thing to do.

MPhys Mathematical Physics