Today I have an interview with the hugely talented Merritt Moore, who is combining a PhD in Quantum Optics at Oxford University with being a professional ballerina! Pretty amazing right? She's recently been featured on the BBC for this inspiring achievement!
1. Hi Merritt, how did you first discover your passion for dance and science?
I didn't speak much as a kid, so I was naturally attracted to these two non-verbal (aka mute) activities that involved movement and math.
2.What is your academic background?Where did you study before Oxford?
I went to high-school in Los Angeles and a school year abroad in Italy. For university I studied physics at Harvard, and now I'm here at Oxford finishing up my doctorate in Atomic and Laser Physics.
3.What is your PhD centred around?
For my PhD, I work in a field called Quantum Optics.
4. How on earth have you managed an Oxford PhD whilst being a professional ballet dancer?
Not a clue! I think it helps that I'm incredibly persistent, and I do what I do because I love just being in the room no matter how good or bad I am.
5. What do you love most about studying at Oxford?
The wonderful inspiring people I get to meet and learn from.
6. What is your advice to women applying for science subjects?
My dad use to tell my sister and I, "girls are smarter than boys, but you have to be nice to them because they don't know it" ;). But for anyone, male or female, I would remind them that everyone has something unique to bring to the table. There is no 'standard' personality or path to pursue science. Stay curious and trust your gut.
7. Do you have any tips for my readers on combining two passions?
The motto I live by is "nothing is impossible- possible just takes time." So when combining two passions, just know that it will take a lot of hard work, but when there's a will and you dedicate the time and energy to it, there's a way.
Merritt has also been filming for 'Astronauts: Do you have what it takes?' on BBC2, airing on 20th Augusthttp://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05bf1jt
'It was wild to film and should be fun to watch'
I will definitely be tuning in!