The Day a Science Student Met a Physics Nobel Prize Winner…

11th October 2018

Science and maths student, Patrick Sear, was lucky enough to secure a meeting recently with 2017 Physics Nobel Prize winner, Professor Rainer Weiss, to discuss the research paper, that he completed during his summer school placement at the University of Southampton, on gravitational wave detections.

Here’s what Patrick had to say about this exciting encounter…

“A few weeks after I wrote the paper, I was invited to present it at the University of Southampton’s Theory Astrophysics and Gravity Lecture. Professor Rainer Weiss, who was awarded a Nobel Prize for his research in gravitational waves, was going to be leading a talk and I decided to build up the courage to contact him to see if he would look at my paper while he was in the UK. Lo and behold, he replied! We planned to meet at the lecture, where PhD students would be showing their work, with mine alongside! !

After the lecture, I introduced myself to Professor Weiss and just by saying, “Hi I’m Patrick” he knew who I was… I was absolutely shocked! We had a great conversation and he then invited me to meet him privately the next day to talk about my paper in more depth. Wow, what an opportunity! He gave me advice on how to build my research skills and practices, which I will be using throughout the final year of my physics A Level course. Professor Weiss then asked me to attend a lecture he was giving to the Department of General Relativity at the University of Southampton, which was incredibly inspiring.

I still cannot believe I was able to go through my own research with a Nobel Prize winner! Professor Weiss’ welcoming nature made the whole experience absolutely amazing and he has truly inspired me to pursue a degree, and possibly a career, in gravitational physics.”

Patrick’s story gained the attention of The Daily Echo, who interviewed him about this incredible experience. The interviewer just happened to be a former Richard Taunton student who is undertaking an apprenticeship with the paper!

Check out the full article here.