Favourite thing to do in my job: Shooting laser at atoms of matter and antimatter and watching them burn.
About Me: I work at CERN, the European Center for Particle Physics and I currently live in Geneva, Switzerland. Outside of work, my favorite activities are hiking, skiing, table tennis, and Ultimate Frisbee. My favorite drink is hot chocolate.
I work at CERN, the European Center for Particle Physics, home of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) where the famous God Particle (Higgs Boson) was discovered. Did you know that CERN is also the place where the World Wide Web was born 30 years ago? This year I personally met the founder of the World Wide Web, Tim-Berners Lee. He is a super cool and super nice guy!
I currently live in Geneva, Switzerland. I am originally from Islamabad, Pakistan, but I have lived and studied in many countries: France, Hungary, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States. Outside of work, my favorite activities are hiking, skiing, table tennis, and Ultimate Frisbee. I am also a certified CERN guide…so if you ever come to Geneva, I can show you around the lab for free 🙂
My Work: As a research scientist, I study matter and antimatter – when matter and antimatter come together, they completely annihilate each other and produce pure energy! If you had 1 gram of antimatter, you could generate enough energy to power a spaceship to the moon and back!
As a research scientist, I study matter and antimatter – when matter and antimatter come together, they completely annihilate each other and produce pure energy! If you had 1 gram of antimatter, you could generate enough energy to power a spaceship to the moon and back!
But it is very hard to trap and control antimatter. In the lab, I shoot lasers and microwaves at particles of matter and antimatter and record how they interact with each other. This helps us understand why our universe has so much matter but so little antimatter. We have started using antimatter in medical applications and are looking for new ideas on how to use antimatter to benefit the world. Do you have any ideas?
My Typical Day: On a typical day, I go to my lab around 9AM and the first thing I do is check whether all the systems that produce and trap antimatter are working normally. Then I do my experiments which involve lasers and microwaves are are super fun to do. At the end of the day, I play table tennis or frisbee before going home.
On a typical day, I go to my lab around 9AM and the first thing I do is check whether all the systems that produce and trap antimatter are working normally. Next, I make a list of tasks for the data. For example, today’s list:
– Turn on the anti-electron system and make trap 2 million anti-electrons
– Observe how long the anti-electrons live in the trap
– Make a batch of 1 million anti-electrons and put them in Trap 1
– Make a batch of 1 million electrons and put them Trap 2
– Mix anti-electrons in Trap 1 with electrons in Trap 2 in Trap 3, the Mixing Trap.
– Repeat the process with lasers in the Mixing Trap
– Repeat the process with microwaves in the Mixing Trap
You can see that it is a very busy day…so I make sure I get a cup of coffee every 3-4 hours. Also, I play table tennis or ultimate frisbee at the end of the day to unwind and prepare for the next day.
What I'd do with the prize money: I want to build a small particle trap, very similar to the antimatter trap that I use in my lab, so that I can take it to schools around the world and show students like yourself how we can hold the antimatter without touching it! It is super-cool physics, and I am sure you will enjoy seeing it in action 🙂 And if your school is interested, I can make a second trap and leave it at the school for your science class.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
funny, active, talkative
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
The movie: Back to the Future
What was your favourite subject at school?
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Yes, for skipping class in order to play table tennis
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
I would make my own organization that would help provide nutritious food and clean water around the world
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1. Have a scientific discovery named after myself. 2. Travel to every country in the world. 3. Make nutritious food and clean water available to everyone in the world.
Tell us a joke.
What do you call a lonely banana? A kela!