I want to thank everyone that voted for me and kept me in to the end. If you want to ask me more questions please follow me on twitter @thadisNOTfood
Palo Alto Senior High School, Foothill College, De Anza College, University of Reading (2007-2011), University of Oxford (2011 – now)
BSc Computer Science (Hons)
I have worked at a number of places but the coolest job I had was working for PlayStation testing video games.
I am a doctoral student at the University of Oxford. I study human evolution.
University of Oxford
Favourite thing to do in my job: I like making super computers do my work for me.
I am looking for mutations that help humans.
My name is Thad, I am a D.Phil student in the Department of Statistics at the University of Oxford. My project looks at different human populations around the world and attempts to determine which mutations are beneficial to humans. What I do is make “Coalescent Trees” from between 60-100 people’s genomes, which is to say I try and figure out how they are all related. I am sure that everyone knows what a family tree is, first you and your siblings, then your parents, then their parents and so on. What I do instead is take a bunch of modern people and then try and figure out how they are related and that allows me to build a “Coalescent Tree” which is just a fancy way of saying how everyone shares an ancestor in the past. I then use statistics on these trees to try and figure out which areas of the genome are being affected by Natural Selection.
My Typical Day
I get into the office and then I spend the day playing with computers.
When I get up in the morning I log into the computers that I use to do my work, I check on the programs that I am running to make sure that they are behaving and then if I have new information I try and figure out what it means, usually by turning it into informational pictures. One of the nice things about my job is that since everything I do is on a computer I can work from anywhere so long as I have my laptop and an Internet connection. This means that I am not stuck in the office when I do my work, I can work from home, from the office, from a Starbucks, just about anywhere that I can use the Internet.
What I'd do with the prize money
I would buy a video camera and make YouTube videos to help explain science to students.
I have a bunch of kids, so it is hard for me to get out and visit places, but what I could do is start a YouTube channel to make videos about science for students. The trick is to make it both fun to watch and to explain it in plain language so that people don’t need to have been to university to understand me.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
I am a rebel!
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
I am helping other scientists to understand our history as humans, this will allow other scientists and doctors to produce new medicine and treatments for disease.
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
Bill Nye “The Science Guy”, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Brian Cox, Mr. Wizard, and a number of other people. I have always really enjoyed learning about how things work, now I am discovering how things work.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
All the time.
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
A video game designer.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
Mexican Food, I love burritos.
What is the most fun thing you've done?
I love playing video games.
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1) Super Powers! I would love to be a super hero and fight crime. 2) A never ending supply of Mexican Food and Bacon, mmmm bacon. 3) More time to play video games.
Tell us a joke.
Why should you never trust an atom? Because they make up everything!