Yvette Perrott believes the skills and knowledge from her general Physics degree that have been most useful to her since moving into astronomy are the general problem-solving strategies.
Career: Lecturer, School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington.
Programme: Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science conjoint majoring in Italian, Spanish and Physics, Bachelor of Science (Honours) majoring in Physics, and Doctor of Philosophy (University of Cambridge).
Yvette Perrott has always had an interest in astronomy and pursued Physics at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
“I always enjoyed maths and sciences at school and wanted to learn about how the world works; I started off undecided between physics and chemistry but after my first year realised I enjoyed the broad reach of physics more,” she says.
“My path was definitely influenced by the summer research project I did, looking for exoplanets via gravitational microlensing.”
During her honours year, she enjoyed the challenge of working out how to address a research question, having the freedom of pursuing her own strategies to solve problems, and constantly developing new skills.
“It gave me a taste of what research was like and my supervisor became a mentor for the rest of my time at Auckland, encouraging me to apply for PhD scholarships and writing references.”
Yvette applied and received a Rutherford Foundation Trust PhD scholarship which covered her fees and living expenses during her doctoral studies in the UK.After finishing her PhD, she was employed as a Junior Research Fellow at Trinity College.
“It was like a postdoctoral research position, but I had the freedom to pursue my own research agenda,” Yvette explains.
“So I continued the research I began during my PhD, studying clusters of galaxies via their signal in the radio band.”
Yvette says one the most enjoyable parts of her job as a Junior Research Fellow were the interactions with colleagues and sense of discovery that comes with research.
She believes the skills and knowledge from her general Physics degree that have been most useful to her since moving into astronomy are the general problem-solving strategies.
“More specifically the courses I did in inverse problem-solving and signal processing. I would encourage anyone thinking of enrolling in Physics to follow their interests, study the things you're curious about - and enjoy it!”
Yvette is now working as a lecturer at the University of Victoria, having been awarded a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship for research entitled: Realising the potential of galaxy clusters as cosmological probes.