Aspiring PhD student explores the field of astrophysics

Astrophysics relates to a segment of physics which concerns the application of theories into astronomy. Physics and Astronomy is a respectable course with the likes of Oxbridge, St Andrews and Durham in the top 4 within the UK when it comes to this field (not to mention global universities who do also offer Astrophysics and Physics & Astronomy courses). Jatan Mehta is a student who decided to take physics for his PhD and is here to talk to us about his passsion for astrophysics, along with tips and advice for students wishing to go down the route of taking a Physics-related course. 


The Interview

1 | Describe your daily routine at your job.

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I am a student, currently preparing for entrance exams for a PhD in physics. I study most of the day and in my free time I research things to write for my blog. I manage to find enough time to publish one article a week on Medium.

2 | What made you choose astrophysics at University and where did your passion for space originate from?

My curiosity and love for space started when I was 13. I had joined a local library and reading one book about space led to another. That is when I decided that I want to pursue Science. I thus ended up doing Masters in Physics with Astrophysics as a special course. This was recently followed by a project in Astrophysics on a particular type of binary stars.

3 | What do you love about astrophysics, space and astronomy?

Everything! Seriously though, everything! Just the fact that the Universe is so unimaginably vast and there are objects out there that defy common sense again and again is enough to fuel your curiosity forever. These astrophysical objects push our imagination beyond what we think is possible and force us to rethink our position in the Universe every now and then.

4 | What branch of astrophysics do you particularly like? What do you find so interesting about it?

I love red dwarf stars. They are interesting because they will live for more than a trillion years! That’s at least 100 times more than the lifespan of our Sun and of sun-like stars. So ultimately red dwarf stars will outlive all other stars capable of hosting Life around them. This means that they are likely the homes for all possible future space-faring civilizations.

 

5 | What is some advice you would give to aspiring students wishing to take courses related to physics and engineering?

Do what you love and make your own path. Don’t let the world push you back, don’t let people tell you why you shouldn’t do something just because there is not a market for it. If you are good at what you do, the market comes to you.  

SpaceX's mission to go multi-planetary.

SpaceX's mission to go multi-planetary.

6 | With the discoveries of technology and knowledge available regarding astrophysics and space, where do you see the future of space exploration?

With the need for going multi-planetary and expanding into the solar system, as imagined in The Expanse, privatisation of the space sector seems to be the next big thing. We are already seeing tons of innovation from private companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin. Even the smaller private startups like TeamIndus are aiming to be the world’s first private mission to the Moon, showcasing growth throughout the private space sector.

7 | Do you have a reading list of books that you think would be helpful for students taking physics, engineering or a space-related course?

Goodreads has a good list of popular Astrophysics books meant for both an enthusiastic audience and students into such disciplines for gaining inspiration. These book make you more curious and shall I say, more human.

Find Jatan on Medium | Jatan Mehta