Interview with a physicist- Daisy Shearer

Daisy Shearer is a young British woman with big dreams. She spent four full years on her integrated master’s degree in physics, focusing specifically on Quantum technology. Quantum technology uses Quantum mechanics to benefit and exponentially advance our current technology. This includes quantum computing which utilizes quantum possibilities like superposition, which is when a quantum system exists in multiple states simultaneously, to help computers work more efficiently. 

Quantum metrology is another kind of Quantum technology. It is the study to make highly accurate measurements and imaging and uses entanglement and quantum cryptography. Quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon that occurs when a pair or group of particles stay connected to each other, such that their quantum state cannot be described independently. Measurement of one of the particles collapses its wave function, and once we observe its spin, we automatically know what the other particle’s spin is, as they must be opposite. Quantum metrology takes advantage of entangled particles to break past the standard quantum limits and take ultra-sensitive measurements.

Daisy also spent one of those years working on her master’s research project at a semiconductor laser company developing next-generation electro-absorption modulated lasers for telecommunication. An electro-absorption modulator is a device that helps regulate the intensity of laser beams using an electric voltage.

Daisy completed her degree at the University of Surrey, in Guildford, England; and is currently there as a Ph.D. candidate in Experimental Physics which she started doing in 2018 and will graduate soon, in 2022. Her research project is in condensed matter physics meaning she is working on Semiconductor-based Spintronics devices which can be applied practically to Quantum technology. Condensed matter physics is a fascinating field. It deals with the properties of matter in both the atomic and classical world with many great applications. Spintronics is the study of the spin of electrons and their electrical charges. Daisy is investigating ways to control the spin state of electrons and utilize electron spin.

A typical day in Daisy’s life is far from normal. Being a researcher gives her a plethora of choices and tasks to be done throughout her day. On a lab day, there is experimental data to analyze using computer programs. Other times she might read and write scientific papers, or work on writing her own thesis. Instead of experimentation, there is always the possibility of running computational simulations. Computational simulation is the process of mathematical modeling using computer programs to help with predictions in the real world. It is used as an aid to foresee many outcomes such as weather, psychology, and engineering designs.

Aside from quantum physics, Daisy also has interests in gardening, baking, reading, and knitting. Scientists are humans too and it is important for them to find joy in areas that differ from their general line of work and studies. Within physics though, she is most passionate about Semiconductor Physics and Quantum technology.

A challenge Daisy encountered while getting her first degree was being autistic; which at the time, she had no knowledge of. As a neurodivergent person, she could have greatly benefited from understanding more about herself and she hopes her future line of work will be fully accepting of her and all kinds of people in the science community.

You can find Daisy online through Instagram: @notesfromthephysicslab

or her website: https://notesfromthephysicslab.com/

Writer: Golda Abs

Editor: Omar Alturki/ Uzay Kara