I am a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh working in exoplanet science. My research, funded by the National Environmental Research Council, focuses on modelling and understanding the atmospheres of exoplanets—planets orbiting other stars. Upcoming space missions like the James Webb Space Telescope, ARIEL, and Twinkle will soon allow us to capture faint traces of light from exoplanets and explore their truly alien environments. Atmospheric science developed for Earth is our best guide to interpreting this data.
I grew up in the United States speaking German at home and English at school. After initially graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Classics from the University of California, Berkeley, I moved to Berlin for several years before settling in Edinburgh. I obtained a Master’s in Mediterranean archaeology from the University of Edinburgh in 2012 and presented my research at the Frontiers of the European Iron Age Conference in Cambridge the following year. In the meantime, I freelanced as a German to English translator, passing the CIoL’s DipTrans exam in 2015 and joining the Institute as a Chartered Linguist. In 2016, I was a panel member of Translating Europe: Young People in Translation at the Glasgow Language Show.
In 2015, I changed academic course and enrolled in Heriot-Watt University for an integrated Master’s in mathematical physics. I continued to work as a translator on the side, expanding into technical and patent translation. I returned to the University of Edinburgh in 2020 for a PhD in atmospheric and environmental sciences.
My science writing criss-crosses my educational and professional background. I aim to communicate the cutting edge of exoplanet science to the general public, but I also delve into other areas of past research: the mysterious designs found on Iron Age Italian belts, the economic feasibility of a space station in geostationary orbit, software for the automatic detection of satellites streaking across the night sky, novel image processing algorithms based on partial differential equations, contrasts between German and Anglophone ways of communicating… Wherever possible, I draw together threads from diverse fields and seek to highlight interdisciplinary commonalities.
In my free time, I enjoy rock climbing.