EPEC Profiles – Cai Stoddard-Jones
In this series from the EPEC Communication Working Group, we meet members of the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) community and find out more about their experiences and aspirations.
Cai Stoddard-Jones is a PhD student in Astrophysics at Cardiff University, UK.
I’m originally from Anglesey in North Wales but spent the first few years of my life living in Los Angeles. My Dad worked for a company there which produced the heat tiles for the space shuttle and parts for the ISS. He’d bring home test pieces and show me electron microscope images of the parts – both this and an obsession with Buzz Lightyear early on prompted a lifelong love of space.
I originally planned to study Medicine in university until a Physics lesson learning about Kepler’s laws, I thought “This is cool! Oh god, this is really cool”. I quickly switched my offer from Cardiff University to Astrophysics in 2017. Just before uni started I was fortunate to win a scholarship to attend the London International Scientific Youth Forum which opened my eyes to so many different areas of science and collaboration.
I loved the time during my degree. I had so much fun and made friends that I now can’t imagine my life without. Due to COVID, I was not ready to leave Cardiff at the end of the degree. Fortunately, the supervisor of my 4th year project, Paul Roche, was able to offer me a PhD at Cardiff, continuing cometary research that I had started in the 4th year. My project is a mix of analysis of comet 29P and its unusual outbursts, and outreach with the project ‘Comet Chasers’ (follow us on Twitter @comet_chasers). This mix gives me occasionally needed breaks from intense science and data analysis.
I’ve almost finished the first year of my PhD and I’m loving it! I have no idea what’ll happen in the future but, I’m excited to see where I go.
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