School of Physics and Astronomy

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Lucy Curtis

BSc Physics

Why did you choose to study Physics?
I find Physics is the subject that answers the big questions. I’ve always had an interest in how the world works, how we came to be here and why our universe is the way it is. Physics isn’t all about learning formulas; it allows you to gain practical experience working in a laboratory.

What attracted you to the University of Leeds?
I particularly liked the city of Leeds due to its size. I found it is big enough to hold as many shops, restaurants, bar and clubs as you would ever need yet small enough to walk from the student accommodation to the University and then to the other side of the city in under an hour!

Did you visit us on an open day? Did you find that experience helpful in making your decision?
Yes – speaking to the current undergraduates of that time at the open day and seeing the physics department in action on a regular day when I came for my interview meant that I could visualise myself being there. I particularly remember thinking that the students union was much bigger than any others I’d seen. 

What do you enjoy most about your course?
I like the lab work, because you test the theory you learn in the lectures in a real situation. I also like how the lectures tie in together. You find some modules include several topics learnt in previous semesters or in the maths lectures, which allows you to put what you learn into context.

Which aspects of physics do you find the most interesting? 
I like the astrophysics optional modules, learning about different types of galaxies and how stars evolve. I also enjoy the thermodynamics modules because you can visualise how the laws work and you can see them happening in the world around us.

How would you describe your lecturers and tutors?
Some of the lecturers are real characters! It’s great seeing some people so enthusiastic about the subject they are teaching you. They are also really inspiring, especially if you were to look up how many papers they have published in their specified field. The tutors are great, really helpful with open door policies so they can be there whenever you need any academic help.

How would you describe student life at Leeds?
There is something to do for everyone and anyone, from cocktail bars in Headingley to the pub quiz at the Student Union’s Old Bar, or music gigs near the train station to the many nightclubs in the city and on campus. It is a very diverse, student-centred city, welcoming students from all across the globe with international nights and the majority of shops, bars and restaurants having dedicated student events.

Have you joined any clubs and societies on campus?
Yes, I’m part of the Physoc (Physics Society) netball team and a member of the Energy Leeds Society, where I can go to listen to talks about renewable energy from leading figures in the energy industry. I am also a very involved member of the Street Dance Society and am the society’s Social Secretary. It’s a great way to meet new people who you share a common interest with, and it’s a great way to relieve stress or wind down at the end of a long day. I also get the chance to perform in shows, competitions and go on tour in Spain without the need to audition, which I could never do outside university! 

Do you have an idea of what you might like to do at the end of your course?
I would like to go into the renewable energy sector. As I have a strong interest in protecting the environment, I would like to become part of a team that develops the technology needed for green energy, and I hope to get a placement year at a company such as EDF Energy. After completing a year’s work experience, I hope to complete a Masters degree in Sustainable Energy Systems before starting a graduate programme. 

What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?
University is about gaining the best experience through the right balance of studying and extra-curricular activities. A physics course isn’t an easy one (which is why employers like physicists!), so if the hard work is put in you will see results. But being at one of the best universities in the country for student life, you must also take advantage of the incredible opportunities offered through the student union.