David is interested in understanding the gravity found in different parts of the Universe. We can make vast cosmic maps of gravity, as it bends the light we see from distant galaxies. David’s role in DES is to co-ordinate the work to make these gravity maps. He is also interested in testing whether the gravity we see in different parts of the Universe is what we’d expect, or whether we need a new theory to explain it.
We asked David a few more questions – here’s what he had to say:
What is your favorite part about being a scientist?
The chance to discover new things about the Universe.
When did you know you wanted to be a scientist?
When I was about 13; I was enjoying science lessons at school, and had enthusiastic and encouraging teachers. I had a glimmer of a thought that I could become a scientist, and kept enjoying it as I went on deeper into the subject.
What is your favorite space-related image, and why?
Scientifically: the Hubble Deep Field, as it’s genuinely awe-inspiring to consider the size and fullness of the Universe. Not scientifically: the Millennium Falcon soaring through the asteroids.
If you weren’t a scientist, what would your dream job be?
Do you have kids? Do they want to be scientists too?
Chloe (7) wants to be a scientist or computer programmer. My other kids haven’t thought about it yet.
What do you think has been the most exciting advance in science / technology in the last 10 years?
There are so many things to choose from, but for me perhaps: widespread smartphones, and the advances towards quantum computing.
Thinking back to when you were an undergrad in physics (if applicable), was there anything you were taught then that is not taught now?
The opposite is certainly true – we weren’t taught about dark energy, which is now thought to be the majority of the content of the Universe.
Any other fun facts you’d like to share?
As well as some heavy science books, I still have on my office bookshelf a leaflet on constellations I was given when I was four. I hope that someone reading this, who is just starting out with astronomy, will decide to come and take my place in a few years!