Niall MacCrann is a postdoc at The Ohio State University. He works on many topics related to weak gravitational lensing, as well as a bit on galaxy clustering, perturbation theory and statistics in general. Niall is co-coordinator of the DES weak lensing working group.
We asked Niall a few questions. Here’s what he had to say:
What is your favorite part about being a scientist?
Spending time just thinking.
When did you know you wanted to be a scientist?
I got into cosmology because it seemed like it had the biggest, craziest, unanswered questions, and I think science research in pretty much any field is good for society as a whole. However, I am considering switching to a different field with more direct, “real-world” societal benefits.
What motivates / inspires you?
I find learning new things very motivating – be that some tidbit about galaxy formation, or a new statistical method or a coding trick. My colleagues are a very large part of my inspiration.
Do you have any hobbies or take part in sports?
I love to paint, play soccer, and climb. I’m also unbeaten in jenga.
What do you think has been the most exciting advance in physics / astronomy in the last 10 years?
I think collaborations are thinking more now about how to create good cultures where a wider range of people can thrive and succeed. A lot more work is needed, but if that continues I think it could be very significant in terms of the community’s total scientific output.
Any advice for aspiring scientists?
Keep asking questions. You may think you’re bothering some more senior person with these questions, but most likely they love answering them because it makes them feel clever and appreciated!