by Virginia Greco. Published: 16 June 2017

After completing her Bachelor courses in physics with a project in ALICE, Meg will take part in a Fulbright exchange programme in Hungary, where she will study Mathematics.

Meg is still concluding her Bachelor courses in physics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, but she is already preparing her suitcases to fly towards her next adventure.

A young, brilliant woman, Meghan Stuart decided to study physics because she wanted to know and understand more about the world we live in and how it works. When she was only 19, she had the opportunity to spend a summer at CERN, studying and working for the ALICE experiment. She felt amazed and appreciated a lot the experience, so, when the moment came to choose the topic for a research topic for her Bachelor degree, she decided to join again the ALICE Collaboration and spend some time at CERN.

During that period, she worked on hardware for the EMCal and performed analysis on background subtraction for jet/hadron correlation measurements with the EMCal. Christine Nattrass was her supervisor. “Hardware is cool,” Meg comments, “but is also very tiring. I guess data analysis and coding were more my thing.”

A few months ago, Meg decided to apply to the Fulbright programme for international education exchange, which funds selected undergraduate and graduate students to follow a university programme in another country and to develop a research project. She was awarded the grant, to her great satisfaction, and decided to move to Budapest, Hungary, to study Mathematics at the Renyi Institute. Yes, Mathematics! 

Even though she liked physics and found CERN amazing, along her studies she realized that she was really fascinated by Mathematics, both as an excellent tool to describe the physical world and as an amazing discipline per se. “I took all of the Mathematics courses offered by my University to undergraduate students in physics,’ explains Meg, “but I couldn’t feel satisfied, I want to know more!”

She will get her Bachelor degree on the 21st of August and at the beginning of September she will be already starting her new life in Hungary. “There are so many things to do, I don’t even know yet where I will be living,” she admits. During the first three weeks, Meg will be given the possibility to attend whatever courses she likes, then she will have to pick some. Since her grant focuses on training, she will spend much more time studying than developing a research project. Unfortunately she will not receive a degree at the end of this one-year programme, but it will be an important asset in her curriculum anyway.

“I can hardly say what I will do afterwards, it depends on many variables,” she adds. “But now I am very excited for this adventure and I am really looking forward to starting it.”

Besides mathematics and physics, Meg is keen on computer science: “At the moment I am developing some simulations of physical systems. It is a lot of fun!” At the moment, it is basically a hobby, but this passion and ability to code might open up new career paths for her.

She also likes playing the banjo and playing rugby, but at the moment she does not have much time for these activities. Too many things to dream of and to do, including trying to learn Hungarian…