Rane Simpson

Highly-charged radioactive molecules: Amplifying sensitivity for new physics
Jens Dilling, Stephan Malbrunot
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I decided to study a graduate degree because it is a necessary step to the only goal to which I could imagine dedicating my life. Pursuing a research career has been the only thing I have wanted to do since my postsecondary journey began, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

UBC is a fantastic institution in an amazing country. Add to this that it is home to the nations premier environment for nuclear physics experiments, and you will have a picture that describes why UBC was my number one destination for graduate studies.

What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?

There is only so much that you can do as a nuclear physicist if you are not situated in a national lab such as TRIUMF. A previous supervisor of mine during a co-op placement during my undergraduate degree referred to TRIUMF as, "The place where real science happens." I think this is an apt description, and was the number one reason I decided to pursue physics at UBC.

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

Vancouver is incredible, that doesn't need to be said. The proximity to the oceans and mountains make this city one of Canada's finest, but this also means that these factors come as no surprise. Perhaps the best surprise for me was how international the city is. There are residents from all over the world, and many of them are places I hadn't usually thought of in the past. This international population really provides a welcoming atmosphere here, regardless of where you originate.

UBC is a fantastic institution in an amazing country. Add to this that it is home to the nations premier environment for nuclear physics experiments, and you will have a picture that describes why UBC was my number one destination for graduate studies.
What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?

This is tough to narrow down. I love so much about my graduate experience. The hard science, the people that I work with, the opportunities to travel and share ideas with other great minds in the field: its all incredible. Probably the best part for me is the day-to-day problem solving. A graduate degree is almost like a, "build-your-own-adventure." Of course there are certain expectations you must meet, but you can go above and beyond those expectations if your curiosity drives you to that point. There is so much to learn, and so many incredibly talented and intelligent people everywhere.

What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?

I believe the biggest challenge in my career will be simply the nature of the field. There are a lot of people trying to do the same thing that I am trying to do, and there are so many positions. Particularly withing Nuclear Physics where most experiments need to be situated in a national lab, it makes the opportunities all the more scarce.

How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?

Despite the challenge, I believe I am well prepared. I have enthusiastic and inspirational mentors and a motivation to succeed. TRIUMF is an environment that fosters learning and cooperation, and it is easy to see how one can develop the skills and knowledge here that are necessary to succeed.

What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?

I believe that the most important experience in my life that prepared me for this program is one that may not be shared by many. I had a five year gap between graduating high-school and starting my undergraduate degree, and in those five years I worked full time. I didn't have any glamorous positions, but I had to do something. In those years, I learned a lot about the workplace, interacting with others, and what I did, and did not, want to pursue in my life. At the end of it all, I knew I wanted to pursue an academic career. This was a moment of time in my life that showed me exactly what I wanted to do with my career, and the motivation that was forged in that time has not waned one bit. It is this desire to pursue science that has made a graduate degree something easy for me. As the cliche goes, "Do what you love and you won't work a day in your life."

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

In traditional Vancouver fashion, I am a big fan of all things outdoors. Whether it's hiking or hanging out at a park in the Summer time, or skiing in the Winter. I also don't mind my indoor time, which is great considering the infamous weather here on the west coast. You can usually catch me sitting by my (electric) fireplace watching a movie or reading a book on a rainy day.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

A graduate degree, at least in science as I am familiar, is not the easiest path to pursue. Not everyone that I know in this program is as certain about their future as others. Sometimes you don't know which side of the fence you lie on until you get here, and that is okay. A graduate degree is the place where you truly realize if this is what you want from your life, while still providing you options upon graduation. That being said, if you are the type to be fully committed to this world, the pursuit of a graduate degree will be the best time of your life (so far). So come with an open mind, try to enjoy your time, and remember that you haven't made any lifelong commitments just yet.


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