Role: PhD student in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College London
Subject area: Earth and planetary magnetism
I am a first year PhD student looking at magnetism in rocks and meteorites. My background is in Astrophysics (looking at stars and the universe). I have now decided to apply physics to Earth. My parents are Tamil Sri Lankan, I was born in Switzerland and raised in Liverpool.
A-level (or equivalent): Physics, Maths, Geography and Further Maths
• MSci in Physics with Astrophysics, University of Glasgow
• PhD in Geophysics (ongoing), Imperial College London
Detail about Banusha
Earth has a giant bar magnet inside which creates our magnetic field, and the magnetic poles flip over time. Rocks and meteorites have tiny magnetic grains inside which point in the direction of the magnetic field. We can trace back in time and look at the direction of the ancient magnetic field and its strength, by studying those magnetic grains. I study those grains that have experienced shock from impacts. My research is to invent a new way of calculating the ancient magnetic field from shock, which has never been done before!
I always loved ccience in school. In year 9, I was very lucky to have an incredible teacher who was so passionate about science. I used to speak to him about scientific theories and ideas during lunchtimes. He inspired and encouraged me to go down this path.
Who is your STEM hero?
Abdul Kalam, an Indian aerospace scientist and politician. Raised in absolute poverty and selling newspapers as a child, Abdul was just an average student on paper. His curiosity, work ethic and passion for mathematics lead him to be an incredible scientist and director of the first of many Indian satellites to go into orbit. He also served as the 11th president of India and was known as the ‘People’s President’.
Most significant discovery/invention?
The concept of zero. Something we don’t think about, defining nothing. Zero plays a central part in mathematics and nature. There are debates on whether it was invented or discovered and by who, which is fascinating itself.
Career options after study
- Academic at a university
- Researcher at a research institute
- Academic publishing
- Data analyst
- Financial analyst
I enjoy boxing, swimming, cooking, hiking, going to live music events and exhibitions.