Dr Anne’s Log: Mission Start (Stardate 2016.81)

There it was. After months of searching, I sat staring at the screen with a massive grin on my face. Did I just win a competition, find a rare item at auction, receive notification of some kind of windfall? No, I found something infinitely better – the StarFormMapper project AND they were in the process of hiring a postdoc!

I suppose I should explain that last sentence: the StarFormMapper project is an EU funded collaboration between the University of Leeds, University of Cardiff, Universite Joseph Fourier Grenoble, Universite Grenoble Alpes and Quasar Science Resources SL. Its MO is to use a combination of data from the ESA space missions GAIA and Herschel, alongside other satellite and European-led ground-based observations, to map the density distribution of star formation regions. This in turn will enable the mechanisms that underlie both how massive stars themselves form, but more fundamentally, how their natal star clusters evolve around them to be identified. Ultimately, the project will underpin studies of how all galaxies evolve. With a background being in observational star cluster analysis, it is not an over-exaggeration to say that this project is a PERFECT fit with my research interests, skills and abilities. So I applied.

Fast forward two months, I received an offer for the postdoc position on the project at the University of Leeds which I accepted with much joyful high-pitched squealing (to the detriment of my partner’s hearing might I add).

That brings us to today, my first week on the job. My arrival in Leeds was successful and surprisingly smooth. Moving upto Leeds from London (and having never visited Leeds before) I was unsure what to expect, even after extensive reading. I am pleased to report that everyone here is very friendly, actually much more so than down south (having pleasant and frequent conversations with strangers is something I will need to get used to), despite the notably colder temperature. Being my first week, there’s not much to report yet science-wise so you will need check back here in a few weeks for an update!

Until then, why not keep yourself amused by following me on twitter (@Starry_N3bula) where (amongst other things) I am known to make science puns, periodically.