What were the aims of your project, and how did you go about achieving these?
The aims of the project were to search through a recent release of data containing thousands of fairly low-resolution pictures of the sky, to find systems called gravitational lenses. These are systems where two galaxies align with each other in such a way that the gravity of the foreground galaxy bends the light coming from the background galaxy, distorting the image of the background galaxy into a sort of arc.
What are your longer term plans and how did your bursary experience affect these plans?
I'm off to Cambridge university this October. Nuffield has acted as a wonderful advert for the research option. In the slightly shorter term, I'm spending this summer on an coding project. I'm considering one of several projects. Each of these is unrelated to gravitational lenses; an example would be porting the CyanogenMod version of Jelly Bean to my particular Android phone, when Google releases Jelly Bean at the end of this month. But the inspiration to do such projects, armed only with a laptop and a brain, has definitely come from Nuffield. I was surprised how much could be accomplished over one summer of work.
What was it like exhibiting at the Big Bang?
It was tiring, certainly, but very fun. I'm still in contact with some of the people I met there. I am, however, very grateful for the prize, and, of course, the hard work of the Nuffield Foundation, without which none of this would have been possible. It feels absolutely terrific.