Ben Moews is a PhD student and Principal’s Career Development Scholar at the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Astronomy. He works on cosmology and galaxy evolution. He also does research on astrostatistics and is involved with the Edinburgh Futures Institute and Centre for Statistics. His research includes machine and deep learning, Bayesian statistics and variational inference. His work with DES focuses on cosmological parameter estimation and using weak gravitational lensing to infer properties of large-scale structure.
We asked Ben a few questions. Here’s what he had to say:
Do you have any hobbies or take part in sports?
I play a couple of instruments – mostly guitar, piano, and blues harmonica -, and I’m generally a huge fan of music. The University of Edinburgh features free weekly concerts of invited classical musicians, which is a great thing to have, and during the summer you can usually find me at the more extreme kind of metal festival. Apart from that, I visit the gym religiously, as I found that it offers a great way to counterbalance any stress for me. If you feel like you haven’t moved one of your projects’ progress bar, move some weights!
What is your favorite book, movie, and/or TV show?
I love reading, but I have to give my personal first place to Tolkien’s work due to the sheer amount of in-depth world building involved in his books.
What do you think has been the most exciting advance in physics / astronomy in the last 10 years?
I know that it’s an answer that people will find frequently, but the direct observation of gravitational waves, as well as the subsequent near-simultaneous reception of such a wave and its electromagnetic counterpart (GW170817), deserve another mention.
Any advice for aspiring scientists?
Thinking that you don’t know ‘enough’ shouldn’t stop you from anything. That feeling is wide-spread among people at all career stages, and it will start to feel more normal over time. If you’re overwhelmed, remember that people around you don’t know everything either, and probably feel the same way now and then.