Exciting nuclei with strange shapes

Jackson Dowie

As a kid growing up in New Zealand, Jackson Dowie was fascinated by nuclear physics, like his Kiwi predecessor Ernest Rutherford.

"I'd heard that ANU was the best place in the southern hemisphere for research," he says.

Now he's here, he’s in his element.

"The scale of the equipment, the particle accelerator, is amazing – and that’s just one department in the whole Research School."

Jackson first came to ANU for a summer scholarship on the search for dark matter - ANU is involved in SABRE, a project to use an abandoned mine in Victoria to house a dark matter detector. However for his PhD he has ended up looking for a never-before seen decay path, which could shed light on the shapes of nuclei.

"As they get excited during interactions their shapes change dramatically.

"It's stimulating and enjoyable – the deeper you look into a subject the more you find that is exciting and interesting."

Although he's like to continue into a research career, Jackson says his programming and data analysis skills will give him options should he want them down the track.

But for now, he’s happy being immersed in the PhD.

"I love the people here, they're smart and funny and it's a nice environment. I’m more at home here than anywhere else I've been."

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