The Royal Society

Meet the team – Discovering particles

Posted by on 9 June 2011

Dr Cristina Lazzeroni’s full profile can be found on the Scientist page.

The rest of the team in this exhibit include…


Professor Andy Parker, University of Cambridge
What inspired you to become a scientist?
I always wanted to know how things worked, and started off by taking things like clocks and radios apart. They rarely worked afterwards! Physics gave me a way to understand more and more about the workings of everything from galaxies to particles. 

Susan Haines, University of Cambridge
What is the first science you remember doing?
I can clearly remember growing copper sulphate crystals with my Dad. They were a beautiful blue colour and grew in interesting shapes. Every time they started to dry out and go white on the surface I would want to grow some new ones.


Sparsh Navin, University of Birmingham
What is it like being a scientist?
It is challenging as things often don’t work the way one would like them to. It is not only the subject you study that is intellectually stimulating, but also the hurdles you have to overcome technically in order to complete your studies. It is also rewarding as you understand things no one else has, before you. 

Dr Richard Batley, University of Cambridge
What is the best thing about being a scientist?
Having the freedom, within rather loose overall constraints, to pursue the ideas and analyses that interest me the most. The working environment is unregimented and informal, and consequently highly productive. There is friendly competition between different experiments but everyone shares the common goal of trying to push the subject forward, and this ensures an overwhelmingly collaborative spirit. In my own field of particle physics, this works right up to international level, with CERN a model example of an international organisation that works. And belying its “nerdy” image, physics is actually populated with fascinating characters that keep life interesting! 


Karim Massri, University of Birmingham
What inspired you to become a scientist?
I’ve always been a really curious child. I continuously asked for answers that neither my parents were able to satisfy, and this just because I couldn’t believe that the sky is blue or that the sunset is red for no reasons. Everything has a reason, and the reason of my choice is just that I wanted to know as much reasons as possible.


Dr Juraj Bracinik, University of Birmingham
What is the first science you remember doing?
I did read a lot about science during my school years, but I think that I did something looking like science for the first time at the University. At the end of second year I have got from one of my teachers my own radioactive source and key from his lab and I had one month to identify nuclear isotopes in my source. It was a lot of fun! 


Dr John Wilson, University of Birmingham
What is the best thing about being a scientist?
The combination of teaching and research produces a marvellous variety: particle physics research with the Birmingham group on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN is both strenuous and exciting while teaching physics undergraduates keeps me constantly on my toes. 


Professor James Stirling, University of Cambridge
What do you think is the most important thing yet to be discovered/invented?
The Higgs boson, the ‘missing piece’ in the Standard Model jigsaw. If it is discovered, for example at the CERN Large Hadron Collider in the next few years, it will confirm that we have been able to deduce, from theoretical insight and experimental measurements, the fundamental theory of matter and forces that govern our everyday world. 


Harry Cliff, University of Cambridge
What is the first science you remember doing?
I remember being about nine years old and having a lesson on light. Our teacher told us that light always travels in straight lines. I put my hand up and said that wasn’t true and that light could bend if it travelled near a very heavy object like the sun. My teacher looked pained and moved on quickly – I must’ve been an insufferable little know-it-all. 

Dr Christopher Lester, University of Cambridge
If you could go back in time which scientist would you like to meet and what would you ask them?
I would like to go back in time to meet myself as a child, and hand myself the plans for the time-machine I just used. I would also like to describe Einstein’s theory of General Relativity to Isaac Newton, to see what sort of reaction it would elicit. I would like to thank Kepler for the years he spent doing painstaking hand-calculations concerning planetary mechanics which eventually put the elliptical orbits of the planets onto a firm evidential footing. 



Angela Romano, University of Birmingham
What is it like being a scientist?
Being a scientist is an amazing way to be connected with everything is around us. It provides a “scientific” approach to the life and an endless curiosity that drives you towards a continuous acquisition of knowledge and a growing will to challenge yourself. 


Vicki Moeller, University of Cambridge
What inspired you to become a scientist?
When I first learned about the scientific method of proposing an idea, testing it every way you can think of to try and disprove it, and making sure other people can reproduce your results, I knew that was the way I wanted to learn about the world. Then, it was just a matter of finding an exciting subject to research and High Energy Physics won hands down.