Reflections on my time as a PhD student – Bianca Veglia

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Particles can’t get lost at DESY. (Image: B. Veglia)

Before I joined the QUASAR Group at Liverpool University, I didn’t have a clear idea of what to expect from a doctoral programme. I found out it is quite well described by this quote from the ‘Lab Girl’ book by Hope Jahren: "Science has taught me that everything is more complicated than we first assume, and that being able to derive happiness from discovery is a recipe for a beautiful life". I enrolled in doctoral studies because I am driven to science, a subject that requires passion, curiosity, determination, and much study.

This applies to a PhD even more, where you are looking for your own way to contribute to scientific research. In the end, a PhD takes a lot, with frustration and challenges, but it also gives many opportunities to develop initiative and independence, which are fundamental features of any scientist.

My thesis project goal was to optimise beam dynamics simulation tools for low energy storage rings, specifically focusing on the Extra Low ENergy Antiproton ring (ELENA) at CERN. As part of the QUASAR Group, I could benefit of the expertise of other members, helping identifying challenges for low energies and analysing data.

I was also happily surprised by the many travel opportunities a PhD offers. Along with meeting people from all over the world, science takes you to many places. Apart from the knowledge I gained in the past years I think the PhD also provided me with self-management skills and resilience.

My new research project here at DESY is widening my expertise in accelerators and I am exploring new computing techniques for optimization. Understanding, even just a tiny bit, of how nature works is a gorgeous spectacle in its own. Contributing with my own view and thinking process to it, is all I wish for.


Bianca Veglia