Tonye Irabor studied for a PhD in Physics at the University of Leeds

Tonye Irabor

What is your research project about?

My research is focused on planetary ebulae (evolved stars) and I am working with a radio selected sample from the CORNISH (Co-Ordinated Radio 'N' Infrared Survey for High-mass star formation) survey.

I am using a multi-wavelength technique to certify the true nature of my sample, which in turn will be compared to model predictions.

This should allow me make certain conclusion or/and ask some questions, which should trigger further research.

What makes you passionate about what you are studying?

The fact that I have an opportunity to contribute to the knowledge of evolved stars in general (their evolution and formation sequence).

Why did you decide to do a research degree?

I have a big curious mind and I am motivated by the prospect of research. It allows me escape the boring life of a routine job.

I want to be able to critically analyse a situation, come up with questions and provide answers to them.

I look at a problem and I want to solve it from an analytical and critical point of view – satisfying my curious mind. I love to ask the 'whys' and can only get answers through research.

I look into a future where I can contribute independently and as a team member in the sciences, especially in astrophysics.

I decided to do a research degree because it will point me in the right direction and train me to achieve these.

Why Leeds?

The first reason is my supervisor and the data I will be working on. Additionally, Leeds has a strong team in astrophysics.

The second reason is the University and the city. I did my masters degree here and find the environment relatively accommodating to do research in.

What has been the most challenging aspect of your PhD?

As a researcher, I get to demonstrate in the lab experiments, attend meetings, prepare for meetings, attend seminars, attend trainings, write reports and produce results at certain times.

Managing all of these and meeting deadlines is what I find most challenging. At the same time, I find it interesting in a way.

What are the main skills which you have developed?

Critical thinking, time management and problem solving skills

What have you enjoyed most about your PhD?

The ups and downs. The beauty of being faced with challenges and getting to think about it, understand it and design a means to solve them provides me with a big satisfaction.