James Cooney studied MPhys, BSc Physics with Astrophysics

James Cooney

Why did you choose to study physics?

I chose to study physics because it allows you to understand the world around you and how things work. It is all about utilising mathematical methods to arrive at solutions to a wide range of problems. It is also the only subject that takes you from the building blocks of the world right the way through to the biggest structures in the universe, while equipping you with the knowledge to understand them.

The part of physics that I find the most interesting is that from a few basic assumptions and a couple of equations, you can derive descriptions of processes such as the lifecycle of stars, and even predict how time changes around a rotating black hole.

What do you enjoy most about your course?

I really enjoy how much practical work there is to do. You’re not just sat in lecture theatres for hours on end. From first year right the way through to your final year project, you will be applying the knowledge you’ve gained from lectures and (re)discovering phenomena for yourself.

The course has gone beyond what I was expecting. The modules are very intellectually stimulating and the opportunities to be involved in research from as early as your second year is something that I am very grateful for. It has helped shape my interests in science as a whole and pointed me towards what I want to do after I graduate.

How would you describe student life at Leeds?

Being a student in Leeds is great. The city caters very well for students and – with campus being so close to the city centre – you are only ever a short walk from most things that you could need. The Union is a big part of the university too, so that has a lot to offer for students here.

What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the past four years and feel Leeds is a fantastic city to be a student in. If you want the whole student package, then I’d say come here!