Favourite thing to do in science: I like to figure out how and why things work the way they do. And I love to share that with people who are new to science.
About Me: Hi! I'm Aimee and I trained as a physicist and worked in a lab for a few years. Now I work as a science communicator, chatting to everyone and anyone about science!
I’m from Tipperary but recently moved to Cork. I have lots of hobbies – I like to do crafts (I’m learning to re-fashion old clothes at the moment), read, volunteer and stay active (though I’m quite lazy). I’m a bit of a neat-freak by nature and sometimes procrastinate by cleaning!
I enjoyed school, but never really knew what I wanted to do afterwards. At times I thought I wanted to be a teacher, then an accountant, then an engineer before finally landing on physics. And even since college, I’ve changed jobs again and now I work in science communication, which I love.
My Work: When I worked as a physicist, I spent my time doing experiments in the lab. Now, as a science communicator, I try to meet as many different types of people as possible and show them how interesting science can be.
When I worked as a physicist, I worked in a lab in the University of Limerick. I was studying materials like wood, bone, proteins (biological materials). I wanted to know if these biological materials would play by the same rules of physics as things like crystals (non-biological materials). I found that they do!
I was interested in a protein found in tears and egg whites. I found that by squeezing this protein, you could generate electricity. Now, the amount of electricity is very small but its something we didn’t know about before. The property is called “piezo-electricity” and it’s how your BBQ lighter works.
After that, I wanted a job where I got to use my communication skills more – I like taking something complicated and making it a little easier to understand. So that’s what I (try to) do now! I work for APC Microbiome Ireland. It’s an SFI research centre in University College Cork. All the scientists working here are trying to understand how the microbes in our gut, on our skin and around us, affect our health. As a physicist, it’s fascinating to learn about this from world experts in microbiology!
My Typical Day: Planning, organising, trying to thing of the big picture, meeting new people - it varies hugely!
It’s a cliche, but no two days are the same for me! Typically, I’ll check my calendar and inbox to see have I any meetings or urgent emails that I need to take care of.
I’m usually in planning mode – maybe planning events for Science Week or thinking of new ways to communicate the research we are doing at APC to the public.
A part of my job is training the scientists who work at APC to be great at explaining what they do to non-scientists. For example, if they have a break-through in the lab, they need to be able to explain that to a journalist so that he/she can write about in a newspaper on online article. Otherwise, no-one would every know what we’re up to in the lab!
When I worked as a phyicist and now as a science communicator, I got to travel a good bit. So far, I’ve been to the Philippines, Israel, Georgia, Austria, England, Belgium and Portugal. It’s a nice perk of the job!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Logical, organized, caring
Who is your favourite singer or band?
I actually love Taylor Swift, she's class!
What's your favourite food?
Chocolate, if I could have it everyday. But I actually love porridge too!
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Dancing - I just love it!
What did you want to be after you left school?
I never knew what I wanted to be
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Nope, I always managed to escape trouble.
What was your favourite subject at school?
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
Taught others science
What or who inspired you to become a scientist?
My physics and maths teachers' at school
If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?
I think I'd be a good computer programmer
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
A holiday to somewhere warm but not too hot, a new couch for my sitting room and a guaranteed good hair days!
Tell us a joke.
I made a chemistry joke before. There was no reaction.