Angela Borchers Pascual

PhD student in the “Binary Merger Observations and Numerical Relativity” group

What is your current position at our institute?

I'm a PhD student in the Binary Merger Observations and Numerical Relativity group.

How and when did you choose to do physics?

As a teenager, I used to go to a science event called “Naukas”, which was celebrated every year in my home country, and where scientists talked about their research in a very attractive and enjoyable way. Attending those talks influenced me a lot.

What is your academic education?

  • BSc in Physics, University of the Basque Country
  • MSc in Physics, Leibniz Universität Hannover

What were your previous academic positions?

  • Summer Student in the Relativity and Gravitation group at the University of the Balearic Islands
  • Teaching Assistant at the Albert Einstein Institute, Hannover

Can you please describe your research?

My research is focused on black-hole binaries, where two black holes merge to form a remnant black hole. I am particularly interested in asymmetric systems, where the remnant black hole can gain a recoil or kick velocity, travelling away from the binary and sometimes even their host galaxies. This process is imprinted in the radiated gravitational-wave signal. My work is centred around the interpretation and modelling of these signatures, to better understand the sources of the signals detected in current and future gravitational-wave detectors.

Please let us know why you chose the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics for your research.

I joined the institute as a master's student. By then, I had done a summer project on gravitational-wave data analysis. Since this place is one of the leading institutions in this field, I was very attracted to doing my master's thesis here. I was able to choose an exciting project and I enjoyed the experience a lot. The institute is a very supportive and inspiring place.

What would you recommend to a young woman wanting to start a career in physics?

From my experience, physics can be very exciting, and can open the door to many joyful experiences and wonderful people. But it's also true that sometimes the work can become overwhelming. So I think it's important to find a good balance between work and other aspects of life (I'm still figuring it out myself, too). And I also think it's important to find people who support you either in or outside work. This applies to anyone starting a career, independent of gender or any other aspect.

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