Having already received an undergraduate degree in Experimental Physics from NUI Galway, Dermot Moran is currently working on a Phd in Particle Physics here at UCD, writes Rowland Bennett.
What are you studying?
I’m doing a Phd in Particle Physics as part of a group here in UCD that’s working in conjunction the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (or ‘CERN’) on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiments. I’ve been over at CERN [on the Franco- Swiss border] there a few times now. I’m moving there at the end of May and I’ll be there for about six months or a year. We will be working where the experiments take place.
Will that finish your Phd?
I don’t think so, we’ll have to wait for data to come and there was an accident about a year ago. After start-up, one of the magnets exploded, so they’re waiting to get all that fixed before they can start taking data again. We’ll have to wait until there’s enough data and when there’s enough data then we’ll probably get a thesis out and finish it up.
What is your third-level education?
I did my degree in NUI Galway in Experimental Physics, and this is my second year in UCD.
Has your undergraduate degree been helpful for this?
We do a lot of computer programming here, so that was one good thing about going to NUIG, as it definitely prepared me for that. I didn’t do as much theory in Galway however, but that didn’t hold me back as when I came here we had seven months of theory courses, so that brought me up to the level that I needed to be at.
What does your course entail?
In our first year we had seven months of live-streamed lectures with the University of Liverpool, and we went over there once or twice for more lectures. Now we’re doing research all the time, but we still go away to courses for a week or two every year to keep the theory fresh. Also, as I have mentioned, I’ve also been over to CERN [on the Franco-Swiss border] a number of times and I’m moving there at the end of May.
What does this course require from the student?
The most important thing is hard work. You can be as smart as you like, but if you don’t work hard, you’re not going to get anywhere. There’s a lot of times when you’re stuck with a problem and you have to work hard and figure it out for yourself.
Are you still having lectures?
No, we’re just doing research the whole time now.
Who would you recommend this Phd to?
Any Physics student with any interest in the LHC experiment at CERN.
What’s next for you?
I don’t really know. Right now I’d like to maybe get a post-docterate position somewhere that’s still involved with the LHC and keep that work going, but I don’t know how I’ll feel in a year or two when I’m finished here. I’ll have to see!