The University of Southampton

Christine McCullough

Course: MPhys Physics with Space Science

For Physics student Christine McCullough her trips to Tenerife and CERN were the main highlights of her course.

Christine with telescope

Exciting trips

“The field trip to Tenerife was an incredible experience. Although we had to work hard to design a gamma ray telescope mission, we also enjoyed a few hard-earned siestas with the Spanish students at La Laguna University.

“The second week we explored Tenerife and headed up to the Teide Observatory to join the Southampton astronomers for a night. Watching the sunrise at 2,000m above the clouds was amazing.

“The Physics Society (Physoc) ran a trip to Geneva, and I was among 50 people who got to see the Cosmic Muon Solenoid detector at CERN.”

Gaining experience

“During my course I secured a summer placement at RAL Space, in Oxfordshire, one of the UK’s top space research facilities. I worked on a space weather project and my results were included in my supervisor’s talk at that year’s American Geophysical Union meeting.

“I learned many programming techniques and was able to use the theoretical knowledge I gained when I did my third year dissertation on space weather effects.

“I have also been doing astronomy outreach with the Soton Astrodome – a mobile planetarium that we take to schools to talk about the moons, planets and the life cycle of stars. The Astrodome is the perfect way for me to share my enthusiasm about space with children in a fun way and hopefully inspire them too.”

Studying at Southampton

“The staff in the Physics and Astronomy department are top of their research fields. They are involved in a wide range of research topics that means whatever your main interest area is, there are leading experts within the department to develop your knowledge.

“Physics at Southampton also has top of the range equipment across all research fields from powerful lasers for quantum, light and matter research, to a newly-installed 14” telescope on the rooftop observatory.”

The future

"I have secured a graduate job working in Military Satellite Communications Engineering, developing improved anti-jamming techniques in order to ensure the information signals are not compromised during transmission.

My long-term career ambition in the space industry is to provide mission analysis and design space mission concepts for the European Space Agency, or develop new spacecraft scientific instruments.”